Michigan’s Regional Jobless Rates Moved Down in September


Berrien County is now ranked 55th out of 83 counties in the state when it comes to the county’s unemployment rate for September. Van Buren is right in the middle of the pack ranking 39th, while Cass County checks in at 52nd overall.

For Berrien County, the unemployment rate improved from 8.7-percent in August to 7.6-percent in September, but is still well more than double the rate of a year ago when the rate stood at 3.3-percent, and the main reason for the gain was a smaller civilian labor force with 2,100 fewer people looking for work.

Seasonally unadjusted unemployment rates declined in all 17 of Michigan’s major labor market areas during September, according to data released Thursday from the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget.

Wayne Rourke, acting director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives, says, “Michigan regional jobless rates decreased in September, but the reductions primarily were due to fewer persons in the state labor market,” adding, “Total nonfarm jobs advanced over the month in most metro regions.”

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September regional jobless rates ranged from 6.0 to 10.2 percent, and monthly rate cuts ranged from 0.3 to 1.2 percentage points. The Flint and Jackson metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) led the way with jobless rate declines of 1.2 percentage points, and Berrien was right behind with a decline of 1.1-percent.

Looking at the year ago numbers, jobless rates rose over the year in all 17 Michigan labor markets, with a median rate increase of 3.8-percentage points. The Muskegon MSA had the largest rate gain over the year, with joblessness advancing by 6.5-percentage points, followed by the Detroit-Warren-Dearborn region (+5.8-percentage points).

Despite the monthly jobless rate cuts, total employment fell in 16 major labor market areas in September. Employment declines ranged from 0.2 to 2.3 percent, with a median drop of one full percent. The largest over-the-month reduction occurred in the Muskegon metro region. The Detroit MSA was the only region to register a minor employment gain over the month, edging up by 0.2 percent between August and September. Berrien’s employment dropped by 1,100 people from 69,900 with a job in August falling to 68,800 in September.

Employment levels fell in 15 Michigan regions over the year. The largest reduction occurred in the Detroit MSA, with an over-the-year decline of 9.7 percent.

Labor force levels fell in all 17 major Michigan labor market areas during September. Workforce declines ranged from 0.1 to 3.5 percent, with a median reduction of 2.0 percent. The most pronounced over-the-month percent workforce drop was observed in the Muskegon metro area.

Ten regional labor market areas recorded workforce advances over the year. The largest labor force gain occurred in the Northwest Lower Michigan region. Six regions exhibited labor force reductions since September 2019, led by the Detroit MSA.

The monthly survey of employers indicated that seasonally unadjusted payroll jobs in Michigan rose by 49,000 over the month, or by 1.2-percent, to 4,032,000.  A large seasonal jobs gain in September occurred in the government sector (+38,000). Jobs also rose in professional and business services (+14,000). The state’s leisure and hospitality industry registered a modest decline in jobs over the month (-5,000).

Thirteen metro regions exhibited increases in nonfarm employment over the month. Job advances ranged from 0.5 to 2.6-percent, with the largest percent job gain in the Monroe metro area.

Michigan payroll jobs fell substantially over the year by 422,000, or 9.5-percent, reflecting pandemic-related job losses. Those job reductions since September of 2019 occurred across all 14 Michigan metro areas, led by the Monroe MSA (-13.1 percent).

All 83 Michigan counties recorded unemployment rate declines in September, with a median drop of 0.9-percentage points. All 83 counties also had pandemic-related jobless rate increases over the past year.