Michigan jobless rate edged down in August

Employment in Michigan increased by 14,000 and unemployment declined by 3,000, resulting in a monthly workforce advance of 11,000.
Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 2:47 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WLUC) - Michigan’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate displayed little change in August, edging down by a tenth of a percentage point to 4.7 percent, according to data released today by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget.

Employment in Michigan increased by 14,000 and unemployment declined by 3,000, resulting in a monthly workforce advance of 11,000.

The national jobless rate moved down by two-tenths of a percentage point over the month to 5.2 percent and was half a percentage point above the Michigan rate. Since August 2020, the national rate fell by 3.2 percentage points, while the statewide rate declined by 3.8 percentage points.

“Michigan’s labor market indicators displayed only minimal change in August,” said Wayne Rourke, associate director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives. “However, total employment and payroll jobs both continued to edge up over the month.”

Monthly and annual labor force trends and highlights

  • Michigan’s workforce rose by 0.2 percent in August, which was comparable to the trend nationally (+0.1 percent).
  • Total statewide employment advanced for the sixth consecutive month. Employment increased by 47,000, or 1.1 percent, since December 2020.
  • Michigan unemployment dropped significantly by 45.8 percent over the year, reflecting persons returning to jobs from pandemic-related layoffs. The number of unemployed nationally declined by 38.1 percent since August 2020.

Michigan’s August 2021 employment levels remain below pre-pandemic levels

  • Employment in Michigan in August 2021 remained 241,000, or 5.1 percent, below the February 2020 pre-pandemic total.
  • The number of unemployed in the state was 39,000, or 21.3, percent higher than pre-pandemic levels.
  • The August 2021 Michigan jobless rate of 4.7 percent was a full percentage point above the February 2020 rate of 3.7 percent.

Michigan payroll jobs inch up modestly in August

  • The monthly survey of employers indicated that total Michigan nonfarm employment was stable in August, advancing by 5,000, or 0.1 percent, resulting in an August job total of 4,172,000.
  • Minor job changes occurred in most statewide industries between July and August.
  • The most pronounced over-the-month employment addition occurred in the state’s transportation equipment manufacturing sector (+4,000).
  • Recalls and layoffs in this industry continued in August as a result of shortages of semiconductors used in vehicles.

Industry employment trends and highlights

  • Michigan’s small percent job gain in August (+0.1 percent) was similar to that exhibited nationally (+0.2 percent).
  • Seasonally adjusted Michigan payroll jobs advanced for the fourth consecutive month.
  • Jobs in Michigan’s trade, transportation, and utilities industry rose for the third consecutive month in August. Over the year, sector jobs increased by 26,000, or 3.5 percent.
  • Statewide payroll employment advanced by 129,000, or 3.2 percent, over the year. Michigan nonfarm jobs remained 281,000, or 6.3 percent, below the February 2020 pre-pandemic level.
  • On a numerical basis, the state’s leisure and hospitality and professional and business services industries each recorded the largest over-the-year gain in jobs (+36,000).

For more detailed information, including data tables, view the full release.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued the following statement after the release of Michigan’s August unemployment numbers. The state’s unemployment last month was down to 4.7%, below the national average and the lowest level since March 2020.

“Michigan’s economy is headed in the right direction, but we know we still have more to do to get Michiganders back to work. Our unemployment rate is below the national average, businesses are staffing up, and personal income is up 19.1%, year over year, the fourth-highest nationwide. There is plenty to be optimistic about, but despite eight straight months of declining unemployment, we have more to do to ensure every family, community, and small business can thrive as we usher in a new era of prosperity for our state.

“I have laid out a range of plans that utilize the massive influx of federal funds we have received to make game-changing investments in the kitchen-table, fundamental issues that matter most to Michiganders. This includes a plan to expand access to childcare, invest in small businesses and entrepreneurship, upgrade our state and local parks, build affordable housing units, bolster public health departments and mental health resources, and more.

“I look forward to working with anyone who wants to put Michiganders first. Together, we can power our economy to new highs, build on the progress we have made, and get things done for our families, communities, and small businesses.”

Michigan’s economy grew 7.6% in the first quarter of 2021, the best in the Midwest. The state also went from a projected $3 billion deficit to a $3.5 billion surplus and continues to lead the nation in automotive manufacturing. Personal income was up 19.1% in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the first quarter of 2020, the fourth-largest increase in the nation.

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