Michigan's unemployment rate dips for second month

Apr 17, 2013

Michigan's unemployment rate dipped for the second month in a row to 8.5 percent.

The unemployment rate represents those in the labor force who do not have jobs.

People are counted as part of the labor force if they looked for a job - even once - during the four weeks prior to the BLS' giant phone survey.

We like to chart unemployment along with the overall labor force numbers to give you a clearer picture of what's going on in the state.

As our chart shows below, the overall labor force in Michigan dropped dramatically starting in 2007. Even though the unemployment rate has been dropping over the last 3+ years, the labor force only recently starting ticking upward.

Michigan's unemployment rate and labor force on the same chart.
Michigan's unemployment rate and labor force on the same chart.
Credit Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

MPRN's Rick Pluta has more on the numbers:

The drop in the monthly jobless rate was actually a change from recent history because it is due to 17,000 more people being added to payrolls, and not because people were leaving the workforce and no
longer competing for jobs.

Most of the job gains in March were in temporary help, and business services like IT and accounting. There were some job losses in the volatile retail and construction sectors.

And this is from the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget's press release:

"Overall, Michigan’s labor market situation in early 2013 has been positive,” said Michael Williams, acting director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives. “The state’s unemployment rate in March was the lowest recorded since mid-2008, and payroll jobs this year
are the highest since the fourth quarter of 2008."

(If you want more numbers to digest, there are a whole lot more in the press release above.)