October jobless rates edge down slightly in most Michigan regions
Non-seasonally adjusted jobless rates in October moved down slightly in 13 of Michigan’s 17 major labor market areas, according to data from the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget. Three metro areas had noticeable jobless rate increases related to manufacturing job cuts associated with an auto sector labor dispute.
“Michigan’s regional jobless rates were generally little changed in October, despite the strike in the state’s auto sector,” said Jason Palmer, director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives. “However, the manufacturing industry reported temporary job reductions in a few Michigan metro areas.”
October regional jobless rates ranged from 2.5 to 4.7 percent. Rate reductions ranged from 0.1 to 0.5 percentage points, with a small median decline of 0.3 percentage points. The Ann Arbor metropolitan statistical area (MSA) recorded the largest over-the-month rate reduction of 0.5 percentage points. Four Michigan regions displayed jobless rate advances over the month, primarily due to auto-related layoffs. These regions included the Bay City MSA (+0.1), the Lansing-East Lansing MSA (+0.5), the Flint MSA (+0.6), and the Saginaw MSA (+0.6).
Unemployment rates decreased in nine labor market areas since October 2018. Rate reductions ranged from 0.1 to 1.0 percentage points, with a median decline of 0.2 percentage points. The Monroe MSA had the largest over-the-year rate cut (-1.0). Six Michigan regions exhibited over-the-year rate advances, with the largest increase in the Saginaw metro region (+0.9). The Battle Creek, Grand Rapids, and Midland region jobless rates remained unchanged over the past year.
In October, total employment rose in 10 regions and fell in seven. The largest employment gain was seen in the Lansing-East Lansing MSA (+1.1%). The most prominent employment reduction occurred in the Northeast Lower Michigan region, down seasonally by -1.9 percent, followed closely by the Northwest Lower Michigan region (-1.4%).
Over the past year, employment advanced in nine regions and declined in eight. The largest percent employment reduction occurred in the Bay City MSA, with a cut of -1.5 percent since October 2018.
During the month of October, total workforce levels increased in eight regions, receded in seven, and remained unchanged in the Bay City and Grand Rapids MSAs. Labor force expansion was mostly minor, with the notable exceptions of the Lansing (+1.6%), Flint (+1.6%), and Saginaw (+0.9%) metro areas. The most pronounced over-the-month labor force reductions occurred in the Northwest and Northeast Lower Michigan regions, which dropped seasonally by 1.7 and 2.0 percent, respectively.
Nine Michigan regions recorded labor force advances over the year, led by the Detroit MSA (+2.1%). Seven regions displayed workforce level declines, led by the Monroe metro area (-1.4%). The Northeast Lower Michigan labor force level remained unchanged since October 2018.
The monthly survey of employers indicated that unadjusted payroll jobs in Michigan remained essentially unchanged in October, edging down by 400 over the month. A large job reduction of 21,000 occurred in Michigan’s manufacturing industry, reflecting workers on strike in the auto sector and associated layoffs. However, jobs advanced in October in several other industries, including government (+12,000); trade, transportation, and utilities (+6,000); and professional and business services (+4,000).
Nonfarm employment rose in six metro regions in October, led on a percentage basis by the Ann Arbor MSA (+1.2%). Payroll employment fell in six regions as well, with the largest decline in the Flint metro area (-3.7%).
Since October 2018, payroll jobs in Michigan were little changed, but this was distorted by the impact of the auto strike. During the first nine months of 2019, Michigan unadjusted payroll jobs averaged 4,433,000, or about 29,000 above year-ago levels.
Sixty-two Michigan counties demonstrated jobless rate decreases in October, with a median reduction of 0.4 percentage points over the year. Unemployment rates fell in 41 counties, advanced in 33, and remained unchanged in nine.