September jobless rates down in most markets

October 26, 2009
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Seasonally unadjusted unemployment rates were little changed throughout the state in September.  Rates edged downward in 11 of Michigan’s 17 major labor market areas, according to the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth. Total employment and labor force levels declined seasonally in nearly all major regions over the month.

From September 2008 to September 2009, seasonally unadjusted payroll jobs fell statewide by 305,000 or 7.3 percent. All of the 14 major metropolitan areas in the state recorded significant payroll job drops since September 2008. Metropolitan area declines ranged from 4.3 to 8.2 percent in this period. The largest over-the-year numerical reductions were posted in the Detroit-Warren-Livonia (-148,000), Grand Rapids-Wyoming (-18,000), Flint (-11,000) and Lansing-East Lansing (-10,000) MSAs.

“In a year marked with high unemployment, September was a relatively calm month for Michigan’s regional labor markets.” said Rick Waclawek, director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information & Strategic Initiatives. “Typical seasonal patterns dominated the changes taking place this month.”

From August to September, there were mostly minor movements in regional unemployment rates, as 15 of the 17 areas reported rate changes of only plus or minus 0.3 of a percentage point. Jobless rates were down over the month in 11 regions, with the largest decline of 0.6 of a percentage point posted in the Monroe Metropolitan Statistical Area. Five areas recorded mostly minor jobless rate gains in September, with the most notable being a seasonal increase of 0.6 of a percentage point in the Northwest Lower Michigan Region. The jobless rate in the Saginaw-Saginaw Township North MSA was unchanged over the month.

From September 2008 to September 2009, jobless rates were up substantially in all 17 regions with a median increase of 4.7 percentage points. The over-the-year rate hikes ranged from 2.9 percentage points in the Ann Arbor MSA to 8.4 percentage points in the Detroit-Warren-Livonia MSA. Most unemployment rate increases fell within the 4.0 to 5.8 percentage point range.

Over the month, total employment declined seasonally in 14 of the state’s major regions, with a median decrease of 1.5 percent. The largest percentage decrease was posted in the Northwest Lower Michigan Region (-4.3 percent) due to the winding down of the summer tourism season.  Employment increased slightly over the month in the Lansing-East Lansing and Flint MSAs, and the Monroe MSA reported no change.

Since September 2008, total employment fell in all 17 regions with an average drop of 7.6 percent.  The smallest percentage declines over the year were registered in the Upper Peninsula and the Northwest Lower Michigan Region, while the most pronounced percentage drops were recorded in the Flint and Detroit-Warren-Livonia MSAs.

The monthly survey of employers indicated that seasonally unadjusted payroll jobs in Michigan rose by 47,000 in September to 3,870,000. Government led the job gains with increases in local government education (+42,000) and state government education (+14,000) as students returned to colleges, universities and local schools.The seasonal advance in local government education jobs was evident throughout the state, while state government education job gains were concentrated in the Lansing-East Lansing and Ann Arbor MSAs.

Private sector jobs throughout Michigan declined by 7,000 in September as mostly seasonal reductions in leisure and hospitality services (-14,000), trade, transportation and utilities (-10,000) and construction (-6,000) were partially offset by gains in professional and business services (+10,000) manufacturing (+8,000) and education and health services (+7,000).

The September gain in manufacturing jobs was mainly due to minor recalls in the auto industry with about half the increase recorded in the Detroit-Warren-Livonia MSA.  Nearly all the increase in professional and business services took place within the temporary help services sub category, while the advance in education and health services was bolstered by a seasonal hike in private education.


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