For the fourth year in a row, Michigan’s average annual unemployment rate dropped, with the preliminary annual average for 2013 down by nearly half a point, dropping from 9.1 percent in 2012 to 8.7 percent. Last year also marked the first time since 2006 that the number of workers in the state labor force increased, with 41,000 more Michigan residents either holding or looking for jobs.
According to data released Wednesday by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget, the only thing that didn’t improve on the state’s job scene was the amount of time it takes to find a job.
The average length of unemployment for someone out of work was down just slightly from 2012, to 39 weeks — more than 9 months. Michigan also remained one of less than a dozen states with jobless rates worse than the national average, which was 7.4 percent for 2013
“Payroll jobs were up in Michigan for the third consecutive year,” said Bruce Weaver, economic analyst with the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget, “and the unemployment rate was down slightly from a year ago, which means the unemployment rate in Michigan has fallen now for four consecutive years.”
The December unemployment rate also dropped by nearly half a point, from 8.8 percent to 8.4 percent. The 8.4 percent rate matched the state’s lowest rate of last year, when both April and May posted the same 8.4 percent jobless level.
Compared with December 2012, when the jobless rate was 8.9 percent, last month saw 73,000 more people working, unemployment down by 20,000 workers, and 54,000 more men and women in the state labor force.
The biggest job gains were 21,000 payroll jobs in business and professional services, 17,000 jobs in manufacturing, and 15,000 in trade, transportation and utilities. The only losses were 3,000 state or local government jobs, and 2,000 jobs in miscellaneous categories. The state had a total of 64,000 more payroll jobs at the end of last year than in December 2012.