Michigans October jobless rate edges downward

November 21, 2010
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Michigan’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in October declined slightly over the month by two-tenths of a percentage point to 12.8 percent, according to data released by the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth. Unemployment edged downward by 6,000 in October, and total employment was essentially unchanged (-1,000). The combination of these reductions pushed the state’s labor force down by 7,000 over the month.

The Michigan jobless rate in October 2010 was one and six-tenths percentage points below the October 2009 rate of 14.4 percent. The national jobless rate decreased by five-tenths of a percentage point over this period.

The U.S. unemployment rate remained flat at 9.6 percent in October.

Michigan’s October labor market changes and jobless rate decline continued the relatively stable trends seen throughout 2010. Since October 2009, Michigan recorded moderate job gains in temporary help, health care and manufacturing, which were offset by job losses in government and leisure and hospitality services.

Monthly labor force trends and highlights

October marked the first month since March 2009 that the state’s jobless rate fell below 13 percent. Michigan’s number of unemployed has declined every month so far in 2010.

The state’s total employment level has remained essentially flat since August. This is in contrast to the first half of the year when total employment rose every month.

Michigan’s work force level has trended downward since June.

From October 2009 to October 2010, unemployment in Michigan fell by 81,000 or 11.6 percent. Nationally, unemployment declined by 4.9 percent in the same period.

Statewide payroll jobs up in October

According to the monthly survey of employers, seasonally adjusted Michigan payroll jobs rose in October by 19,000 to 3,841,000. Job gains occurred throughout most industry sectors, with only two major sectors recording job losses over the month.

Education and health services (+9,000), professional and business services (+5,000) and trade, transportation and utilities (+4,000) reported the largest job additions in October. Manufacturing and other services posted increases of 3,000 each, while several other major sectors displayed lesser gains. 

Somewhat offsetting the various advances were job losses in leisure and hospitality services (-6,000) and government (-2,000).

Industry employment trends and highlights

October’s overall job gain reversed two consecutive months of job loss. The October total job level was slightly below the 2010 10-month average count of 3,844,000.

The over-the-month gains in both education and health services, and trade, transportation and utilities pushed the job totals in both sectors to their highest levels of 2010.

The October job loss in leisure and hospitality services was this sector’s second monthly decline in a row, and lowered the job count to levels posted in late spring.

From October 2009 to October 2010, payroll jobs in Michigan declined by 21,000 or 0.5 percent. Over this period, government (-20,000), leisure and hospitality services (-10,000), financial activities (-6,000), and construction (-6,000) led the job losses. The over-the-year job decrease in government was primarily at the local level.

Since October 2009, notable statewide gains were displayed in manufacturing (+9,000), professional and business services (+7,000), and education and health services (+6,000).

Seasonally adjusted average weekly earnings of production workers in manufacturing declined over the month, while weekly hours were little changed. Seasonally adjusted weekly hours decreased slightly over the year, however earnings increased moderately since October 2009.

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

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