Michigan’s April jobless rate declines slightly


    Michigan’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in April nudged downward over the month by one-tenth of a percentage point to 14.0 percent, according to data released by the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth. Total employment and the state’s labor force rose by 28,000 and 27,000 respectively in April, as unemployment was little changed, declining slightly by 1,000.

    The U.S. unemployment rate in April increased by two-tenths of a percentage point over the month to 9.9 percent.

    The state’s jobless rate in April 2010 was eight-tenths of a percentage point above the April 2009 rate of 13.2 percent. The national jobless rate increased by a full percentage point over this period.

    Employment rose in April as persons entered the Michigan job market, while the number of unemployed individuals in Michigan was essentially flat over the month. The state’s workforce has been increasing in 2010, following sharp reductions in 2009.

    Monthly labor force trends and highlights

    • Michigan’s monthly jobless rates have been trending slightly downward in 2010. Since December 2009, the state’s unemployment rate declined by a half percentage point.
    • Michigan’s April jobless rate was the lowest monthly rate for the state since the June 2009 rate of 13.9 percent.
    • From April 2009 to April 2010, unemployment in Michigan increased by 33,000 or 5.1 percent. Nationally, unemployment rose 10.5 percent in the same period.

    According to the monthly survey of employers, seasonally adjusted Michigan payroll jobs edged upward in April by 6,000 to 3,836,000. The majority of the state’s industry sectors reported slight gains or were little changed in April.  Minor job advances over the month were recorded in trade, transportation and utilities (+3,000), other services (+3,000), construction (+2,000), and education and health services (+2,000).  The only measurable decline in April was posted in leisure and hospitality services (-3,000).

    Industry employment trends and highlights

    • April’s minor overall job gain was the first monthly increase in Michigan since January.  Monthly job totals for the state so far in 2010 have been relatively stable, with April’s level just slightly below the state’s 2010 four-month average of 3,838,000.
    • Retail trade jobs were up statewide by 4,000 in April. This sector’s April job level essentially matched or was slightly above monthly totals recorded since summer 2009.  Prior to July 2009, retail trade jobs had been trending downward for a number of years.
    • The over-the-month job loss in leisure and hospitality services continued a long-term downward trend in this sector. Over the last 12 months, leisure and hospitality services had posted nine monthly declines. Since April 2009, this sector lost 14,000 jobs statewide.
    • Jobs in financial activities were essentially flat over the month. This halted the trend of five consecutive monthly declines since October 2009 (the only month in 2009 that it reported a gain).  Employment in financial activities was down by 10,000 or 5.1 percent since April 2009.
    • From April 2009 to April 2010, payroll jobs in Michigan fell by 74,000 or 1.9 percent. Over this period, eight of the state’s 11 major industry sectors posted job losses. The largest numerical losses over the year were recorded in trade, transportation and utilities (-18,000), manufacturing (-18,000), and government (-16,000).  Education and health services (+14,000) and professional and business services (+9,000) displayed fairly robust gains since April 2009.
    • Seasonally adjusted average weekly hours and earnings of production workers in manufacturing increased over the month as well as over the year.

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

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