Michigan’s May jobless rate declines to 136 percent

June 21, 2010
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Michigan’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in May decreased over the month by four-tenths of a percentage point to 13.6 percent, according to data released by the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth. Total employment rose by 24,000 in May while unemployment fell by 19,000. The state’s labor force edged upward over the month.

The U.S. unemployment rate in May decreased by two-tenths of a percentage point over the month to 9.7 percent.

The state’s jobless rate in May 2010 was equal to the May 2009 rate of 13.6 percent. The national jobless rate increased by three-tenths of a percentage point over this period.

So far in 2010, Michigan’s labor market has stabilized, and some key economic indicators have displayed modest gains. This is in sharp contrast to 2009, a year marked with severe monthly job losses and consistently rising unemployment.

Monthly labor force trends and highlights

  • Michigan’s monthly jobless rates have been trending downward in 2010. Since December 2009, the state’s unemployment rate declined by 0.9 of a percentage point.

  • After consistently recording monthly declines in 2009, the state’s labor force has displayed steady monthly growth so far in 2010.

  • With May’s gain, total employment in Michigan increased for the fifth consecutive month.  Over the year, total employment declined by 18,000 or 0.4 percent.

From May 2009 to May 2010, unemployment in Michigan decreased by 6,000 or 0.9 percent. Nationally, unemployment edged upward by 3.1 percent in the same period.

According to the monthly survey of employers, seasonally adjusted Michigan payroll jobs increased in May by 8,000 to 3,853,000. Offsetting gains and losses left private sector jobs little changed over the month. A 7,000 gain in government jobs, primarily due to the hiring of temporary census workers, pushed total statewide payroll jobs upward in May. Private sector job changes included increases in manufacturing (+6,000), and trade, transportation and utilities (+2,000), and decreases in construction (-4,000), and professional and business services (-3,000). The remaining major industry sectors in the state recorded only minor changes over the month.

Industry employment trends and highlights

  • May’s payroll job gain was the state’s second consecutive monthly increase. This was the first time the state had posted a two-month gain in payroll jobs since the minor additions that occurred from October to December 2006. Michigan’s May job total was the highest posted so far in 2010, just slightly above January’s total.

  • Within government, the increase due to temporary census workers pushed federal government jobs upward by nearly 12,000. However, local government jobs declined by 3,000 over the month while state government jobs edged downward by 1,000.

  • Manufacturing jobs increased over the month to the highest level in 2010. Over the year, manufacturing jobs were up 6,000, and within manufacturing, transportation equipment jobs rose by 11,000. This over-the-year change reflects the significant layoff activity that occurred in the auto industry in May and June 2009 due to bankruptcy proceedings. Employment in manufacturing and transportation equipment has been relatively stable since July 2009.

  • Over the year, the construction sector registered the second largest percentage decline of any major sector in Michigan. Since May 2009, construction jobs in the state dropped by 8.1 percent, while the information sector fell by 8.7 percent.

  • From May 2009 to May 2010, payroll jobs in Michigan declined by 21,000 or 0.6 percent. Over this period, seven of the state’s 11 major industry sectors recorded decreases with the largest numerical drops posted in trade, transportation and utilities (-12,000), leisure and hospitality services (-11,000), and construction (-10,000). Of the four sectors that displayed gains, professional and business services (+15,000) and education and health services (+14,000) registered the most pronounced advances.

  • Seasonally adjusted average weekly hours and earnings of production workers in manufacturing increased sharply over the month and over the year.

Rick Waclawek is director of DELEG’s Bureau of Labor Information and Strategic Initiatives.

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