Michigan's unemployment rate falls and the labor force ticks upward
The state's unemployment rate fell for the seventh consecutive month to 7.5% for the month of March 2014.
The unemployment rate is the measure of people who are out of work, but are counted as part of the overall labor force. The labor force is a measure of those folks who are actively looking for work in the last month. See my explanation of the rate here.
The unemployment rate had been dropping in previous months, but at the end of last year, the rate was dropping along with a drop in the overall labor force (see the chart above).
That's changed in the last three months. The labor force has been growing. From January through March, there are 32,000 more folks in the labor force.
MPRN's Rick Pluta reported on the numbers along with the latest "underemployment" numbers as well:
Over the past 12 months, employment grew in the manufacturing, high-tech, and hotel-and-restaurant sectors. There were job losses in the government and financial sectors.
The overall drop in statistical unemployment in Michigan has been slowed somewhat by people re-joining the workforce to compete for jobs. Also, when people who have stopped looking for work, as well as part-time workers who’d like to be full-time, are added the mix, Michigan’s rate of unemployment and under-employment is 15-point-two percent.
Michigan's overall labor force has a long way to go if we're ever going to see the numbers we had 10 years ago. For more on why the labor force plummeted, look here.