State jobless rate falls in September

Brian J. O'Connor
Detroit News Finance Editor

The state jobless rate fell to its lowest rate of the year during September, dropping two-tenths of a percentage point to 7.2 percent. The decline came from 9,000 more workers finding jobs during the month, with unemployment dropping by 6,000 workers and the number of men and women looking for jobs rising by 3,000.

"The state's jobless rate has trended down since the start of 2014, declining by six-tenths of a percentage point since January, while payroll jobs have been on a mostly upward swing since May," Jason Palmer, director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives, said in a statement.

Despite the improvement, the state's rate remains 22 percent worse than the national average unemployment rate of 5.9 percent.

The official jobless rate is based on all types of employment, including self-employed workers, contractors and farmers. A separate survey of nonfarm payroll workers also rose during September, adding 5,000 workers getting regular paychecks. The biggest gains came from 3,000 added construction jobs, 3,000 auto-related jobs, and 4,000 business and professional service jobs. Declines included the loss of 4,000 leisure and hospitality jobs and 2,000 positions in education and health services.

The new rate is 1.6 points below the September 2013 rate, and the lowest in the state since the jobless rate hit 7.1 percent in March 2008. The rate matches Michigan's pre-recession jobless rate in December 2007. Even at that time, however, that rate was 44 percent worse than the national 5 percent unemployment rate.

boconnor@detroitnews.com