Michigan’s August jobless rate unchanged

Michigan’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in August was unchanged over the month at 13.1 percent, according to data released by the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth. The state’s labor force and total employment declined over the month by 15,000 and 13,000, respectively, while unemployment edged slightly downward.

The U.S. unemployment rate in August increased over the month by one-tenth of a percentage point to 9.6 percent.

The Michigan jobless rate in August 2010 was one and two-tenths percentage points below the August 2009 rate of 14.3 percent. The national jobless rate decreased slightly by one-tenth of a percentage point over this period.

Michigan’s jobless rate in 2010 fell from January through June, and has been flat over the last three months. Payroll jobs declined in August, more than offsetting the job gain recorded in July. Michigan job levels have stabilized somewhat since August 2009.

Monthly Labor Force trends and highlights

  • Total employment in Michigan decreased for the second consecutive month in August after posting gains in the first six months of the year. Since August 2009, total employment increased slightly by 16,000 or 0.4 percent statewide.
  • In August, Michigan recorded a labor force reduction for the third month in a row. Since January, the state’s labor force has posted only a minor decline, edging slightly downward by 9,000 or 0.2 percent. However, from August 2009 to August 2010, Michigan’s labor force has dropped by 47,000 or 1.0 percent.
  • From August 2009 to August 2010, the number of unemployed in Michigan fell by 64,000 or 9.2 percent. Nationally, unemployment edged down slightly by 0.9 percent in the same period.

August payroll jobs fall

According to the monthly survey of employers, seasonally adjusted Michigan payroll jobs dropped in August by 50,000 to 3,831,000. Three industry sectors accounted for most of the job reductions in August. These sectors included manufacturing (-20,000), government (-11,000), and professional and business services (-11,000). Despite the decline over the month, manufacturing job levels in August remained similar to the average level for the first eight months of 2010.

Industry employment trends and highlights

  • Michigan manufacturing job levels have been volatile over the last two months due to a shift this year in layoff patterns related to the retooling process in the auto industry. Manufacturing jobs were elevated in July 2010 as auto plants remained in production and far fewer workers than normal were impacted by temporary layoffs. In August 2010, the reverse occurred, as fewer auto worker recalls than normal resulted in a lower seasonally adjusted manufacturing job level.
  • Of the 11,000-drop in government jobs in August, 4,000 were in federal government due to layoffs of census workers who completed temporary jobs. The remaining job loss was in local government.
  • From August 2009 to August 2010, payroll jobs in Michigan remained stable, edging down by 5,000 or 0.1 percent. Over this period, gains in professional and business services (+15,000), education and health services (+10,000) and manufacturing (+9,000) were more than offset by losses in government (-12,000), and lesser declines in most other sectors.
  • Seasonally adjusted average weekly hours and earnings of production workers in manufacturing decreased over the month. Weekly hours were slightly down over the year; however earnings increased slightly since August 2009.

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

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