Michigan’s seasonally adjusted unemployment drops

Michigan’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in February edged downward over the month by one-tenth of a percentage point to 8.8 percent, according to data released today by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget (DTMB).  Total employment increased by 15,000 over the month while the number of unemployed declined slightly by 3,000.  The state’s labor force rose by 11,000 in February.

The Michigan jobless rate in February 2013 was three-tenths of a percentage point below the state’s February 2012 rate of 9.1 percent.  The national jobless rate decreased by six-tenths of a percentage point over this period.  The state’s unemployment rate in February was just over a full percentage point above the national rate of 7.7 percent.  The U.S. jobless rate decreased over the month by two-tenths of a percentage point.

“In late 2012 into early 2013, the Michigan unemployment rate has trended slightly downward,” said Rick Waclawek, director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives.  “Several major industry sectors in the state have recorded moderate job gains in early 2013 including professional and business services, education and health services, and retail trade.”

Monthly Labor Force Trends & Highlights

  • Michigan’s monthly unemployment rates have trended downward since August 2012.
  • Michigan’s February jobless rate was the lowest for the state since the August 2008 rate of 8.5 percent.
  • With the February gain, total employment in Michigan has edged upward every month since September, increasing by 23,000 over that period.
  • The state’s workforce rose slightly in early 2013, but remains below levels posted in early 2012.  From February 2012 to February 2013, Michigan’s labor force recorded a reduction of 12,000 or 0.3 percent.
  • From February 2012 to February 2013, the number of unemployed in Michigan declined modestly by 12,000 or nearly 3.0 percent.  The number of unemployed nationwide fell by 6.0 percent over the same period.

Detroit Metropolitan Area’s February Jobless Rate Declines

The Detroit-Warren-Livonia Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA’s) seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased in February by three-tenths of a percentage point to 10.3 percent.  In February, the region’s total employment level increased by 7,000 as the number of unemployed declined by 5,000.  The area’s February 2013 jobless rate was the lowest for the region since the April 2012 rate of 10.2 percent.  Unemployment levels remained flat in the area for the second half of 2012 until dipping slightly in the first two months of 2013.

From February 2012 to February 2013, the Detroit metropolitan area’s jobless rate inched upward by one-tenth of a percentage point.  Over that period, both total employment and the number of unemployed advanced slightly by 5,000, as the area’s workforce rose by 9,000.

Payroll Jobs Rise in February

According to the monthly survey of employers, seasonally adjusted Michigan payroll jobs increased in February by 14,000 to 4,067,000.  February job growth occurred in professional and business services (+6,000), education and health services (+5,000) and trade, transportation and utilities (+3,000).  These job gains were somewhat countered by a decline in government (-4,000).   The state’s remaining major industry sectors recorded mostly offsetting gains or losses of 2,000 or less over the month.

Industry Employment Trends and Highlights        

  • Michigan payroll job levels have expanded in three of the last four months.  Since October, job additions in the state totaled 38,000 or 0.9 percent.
  • In February, professional and business services posted its first notable monthly job advance since August.  This sector had shown very little net monthly movement from October through January.
  • With the February job gain, education and health services continued its steady upward growth pattern.  This sector reached a record high of 639,000 jobs in February.
  • Retail trade jobs in the state recorded moderate increases over the last several months, and have posted solid gains over the year.  Since February 2012, jobs in retail trade advanced by 7,000 or 1.6 percent.
  • The loss in government jobs in February continued a long-term trend that began in 2003.  From 2002 through 2012, government jobs fell by 76,000 or 11.0 percent in Michigan.  From February 2012 to February 2013, government jobs were down statewide by 6,000 or 1.0 percent.
  • Since February 2012, payroll jobs in Michigan increased by 51,000 or 1.3 percent.  Over this period, significant job gains were recorded in manufacturing (+18,000), trade, transportation and utilities (+13,000), professional and business services (+10,000) and health care services (+8,000).
  • Seasonally adjusted average weekly earnings of production workers in manufacturing declined over the month while weekly hours were little changed.  Weekly earnings decreased slightly over the year, however weekly hours edged upward.