Michigan February Jobless Rate Increases

    LANSING — The Michigan Department of Career Development announced yesterday that Michigan’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in February increased four-tenths of a percentage point to 6.6 percent, the state’s highest rate in nine years.

    Michigan’s February 2003 jobless rate was five-tenths of a percentage point higher than the February 2002 rate of 6.1 percent. The state’s jobless rate was eight-tenths of a percentage point above the February national rate of 5.8 percent.

    “Michigan’s February unemployment rate rose slightly above the monthly rates that prevailed throughout 2002,” said John Palmer, deputy director for Workforce Programs for the MDCD. “After remaining relatively stable from August to January, the manufacturing sector exhibited some weakness in February.”

    In February, unemployment increased by 18,000 or 5.7 percent, to total 336,000. Employment was essentially unchanged over the month and totaled 4,788,000. The state civilian labor force was 5,125,000 in February

    The average number of weeks individuals in Michigan remained unemployed increased from 14 weeks in the first half of 2002 to 17 weeks in the last half of the year. Data for the first two months of 2003 indicated an average unemployment duration of 18 weeks.

    From March 2001, at the start of what the Department refers to as a recession, to February 2003, unemployment increased by 89,000 or 36 percent in Michigan. In that period, the state’s unemployment rate rose almost two full percentage points while unemployment fell by 156,000 or 3.2 percent. Since March 2001, Michigan’s labor force declined by 67,000, or 1.3 percent.

    Nationally since March 2001, labor force patterns were similar. Unemployment increased 38 percent with a 1.6 percentage point rise in the jobless rate.

    According to the monthly survey of employers, seasonally adjusted Michigan payroll jobs in February decreased by 8,000 to total 4,438,000. Most of the payroll employment loss occurred in manufacturing, which fell by 14,000.

    Smaller declines were recorded in leisure and hospitality services, which saw a drop by 5,000, and other services, which fell by 3,000. These losses were somewhat offset by gains in professional and business services, which rose by 8,000; trade, transportation and utilities saw a gain of 3,000, and government also rose by 3,000.

    The remaining industry categories were little changed over the month.

    Payroll jobs in Michigan were down overall by 37,000 or 0.8 percent over the year. Payroll employment declined in nine of the 12 months since February 2002, with February 2003 marking the sixth consecutive monthly contraction.

    Manufacturing registered the majority of payroll job loss over the year, falling by 30,000 or 3.8 percent. Within manufacturing, employment in transportation equipment dropped 20,000 or 6.7 percent.

    Two other industry categories registered noteworthy payroll employment job loss since February 2002 and included leisure and hospitality services, which recorded a loss of 9,000 or 2.2 percent and professional and business services that also lost 9,000 or 1.4 percent.

    Education and health services was the only major industry sector to display significant gains over the year, increasing 15,000 or 2.9 percent.

    For more information about the MDCD, visit the department’s Web site at



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