Michigans May jobless rate increases slightly

June 17, 2011
| By Kurt Weiss |
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Michigan’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in May edged upward over the month by one-tenth of a percentage point to 10.3 percent, according to data released last week by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget.

Total employment declined moderately by 9,000 in May as the number of unemployed moved slightly upward by 4,000. The state’s labor force decreased by 6,000 over the month. Michigan’s unemployment rate was a little over a percentage point above the U.S. May rate of 9.1 percent.

The Michigan jobless rate in May 2011 was two and a half percentage points below the May 2010 rate of 12.8 percent. The national jobless rate decreased by half a percentage point over that same period.

“The state’s labor market situation improved significantly throughout 2010 into early 2011,” said Rick Waclawek, director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives. “However, since February 2011, Michigan’s unemployment rate has been essentially flat while payroll jobs declined slightly.”

Michigan’s monthly jobless rates have remained within the narrow band of 10.2 to 10.4 percent since February.

Since the recent high in September 2009, Michigan’s unemployment rate has fallen by nearly four percentage points.

Although total employment declined over the month, employment remained 14,000 above the level posted in January.

Michigan’s labor force has tracked slightly downward by about 10,000 since March after remaining steady in the first quarter of the year. The state’s labor force has declined by 72,000, or 1.5 percent, since May 2010.

From May 2010 to May 2011, total employment has increased in the state by 59,000, or 1.4 percent, which outpaced the nationwide gain of 0.3 percent over the same period.

The Detroit-Warren-Livonia Metropolitan Statistical Area’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in May increased over the month by three-tenths of a percentage point to 11.6 percent. The total employment level in the area decreased by 7,000 in May, however, while unemployment rose by 7,000. The jobless rate in May marked the highest posted in the area in 2011, and was the highest since the 12.2 percent rate recorded in December. Even with the minor advances over the last two months, the Detroit metro area’s rate remained more than four full percentage points below the recent high posted in late 2009.

From May 2010 to May 2011, the Detroit metropolitan area’s jobless rate fell by 2.3 percent. In that period, total employment was little changed, so the drop in the jobless rate may primarily reflect a reduction in the number of individuals actively seeking employment.

According to the monthly survey of employers, seasonally adjusted Michigan payroll jobs declined in May by 13,000 to 3.9 million. Government jobs decreased by 8,000 over the month, while moderate reductions also were posted in leisure and hospitality services (-5,000), and education and health services (-3,000).

Somewhat offsetting these declines was a 4,000 gain in construction jobs. The state’s remaining major industry sectors recorded only minor changes over the month.

May marked the second consecutive monthly decline in statewide payroll jobs. May’s job total was the lowest posted in 2011; however, May’s level was still well above totals recorded throughout 2010.

Construction jobs in Michigan rose for the first month since January. May’s job total in this sector essentially matched the 2011 average.

Even with a minor decline over the month, jobs in professional and business services have been very steady in Michigan so far in 2011. This sector continues to display the largest over-the-year job growth within the state.

The drop in leisure and hospitality services jobs was the largest for this sector in 2011. Leisure and hospitality services has registered a decline of 6,000 jobs since January.

Government jobs continued to reflect a downward trend in May (-8,000). Government has far outpaced any other sector in jobs lost over the year, with a drop of 37,000, or 5.7 percent, since May 2010. Over that period, part of the job decline can be attributed to the large number of temporary U.S. Census workers in the spring of 2010. Most of the remaining over-the-year losses were at the local government level.

Since May 2010, private sector jobs in Michigan increased by 70,000, or 2.2 percent. Nine of Michigan’s 10 major private industry sectors recorded payroll job gains over this period, with professional and business services, manufacturing and education and health services leading the advances.

Seasonally adjusted average weekly hours and earnings of production workers in manufacturing increased over the month, as well as over the year.

Kurt Weiss is the public information officer for the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget.

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