No Change for Michigan Jobless Rate in August

While laid-off workers continued to be recalled to duty in August, the pace of that recall has slowed somewhat. That’s the word today from the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget, as they deliver the current unemployment data over the past month.

They report that Michigan’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was essentially unchanged over the month, remaining at 8.7-percent in August, according to the data released. Employment advanced by 93,000, while the number of unemployed inched up by 7,000. The state workforce rose by 99,000 over the month.

The national unemployment rate fell by 1.8-percentage points between July and August to 8.4-percent. Michigan’s August rate was three-tenths of a percentage point above the U.S. rate. Over the year, the Michigan jobless rate jumped by 4.7-percentage points, matching the national rate gain.

Jason Palmer, Director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives, tells us, “Recalls of laid-off workers continued in Michigan in August, but at a slower pace than in the last few months,” and adds, “Total payroll jobs rose by 55,000 in August, well below the average advance of 180,000 per month from May through July.”

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Here are some of the monthly labor force trends and highlights:

  • Michigan’s total employment level fell by a little over a quarter of a million over the year (-251,000), or by 5.3-percent.
  • The average number of Michigan unemployed from May to August 2020 was well above the February pre-pandemic level (+470,000).
  • So far, through the first eight months of 2020, the average state workforce level was about 84,000 below the 2019 annual average.

The Detroit-Warren-Dearborn Metropolitan Statistical Area’s (MSA) seasonally adjusted jobless rate rose by 0.3-percentage points to 9.6-percent in August. Employment increased by 47,000 over the month, and unemployment also moved up (+13,000). The Detroit MSA labor force advanced by 58,000 during August.

Over the last four months, total employment in the region averaged 365,000 below the February 2020 pre-pandemic level.

The Detroit MSA jobless rate rose by a significant 5.4-percentage points since August 2019. Over the past year, employment fell by 200,000, and unemployment had a large hike of 109,000.

Statewide, the monthly survey of employers indicated that seasonally adjusted jobs moved up by 55,000 over the month, or 1.4-percent, to 3,994,000 in August.

Employment advances were observed in most major industry sectors. The most pronounced numerical August non-farm job gain was seen in government (+15,000). Federal government employment expanded in August due to the hiring of temporary census workers. Additionally, both state and local government jobs advanced as schools began early hiring for the fall semester, and jobs rose among cities and townships.

Here are some of the industry employment trends and highlights from the report:

  • August payroll jobs advanced for the fourth consecutive month, following the record coronavirus-related job cuts in April. However, the August over-the-month job gain of 55,000 was well below the level of jobs added during May, June, or July.
  • Since April 2020, Michigan jobs have rebounded by 593,000, or 17.4-percent. Despite that, Michigan employment remains 456,000 below January 2020 levels (-10.3-percent).
  • On a percentage basis, the state’s leisure and hospitality industry exhibited the largest over-the-month gain in employment, advancing by 3.4-percent.
  • Michigan’s construction sector had the smallest percentage loss in jobs over the year among major industries, with employment edging down by 1.3-percent since August 2019.