Mich. jobless rate edged up in October to 4.7%

Brian J. O'Connor
Detroit News Finance Editor

Michigan’s official unemployment rate edge up by one-tenth of a percentage point during October to hit 4.7 percent as more state residents got back in the labor force and started hunting for jobs.

A total of 22,000 men and women went job-hunting last month, according to data released Thursday by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget, and nearly two-thirds of them heard the words, “You’re hired!” About 14,000 of the new workers landed jobs while 8,000 were added to the tally of the jobless.

“Michigan’s modest jobless rate hikes over the last two months were primarily due to the entry of individuals into the state’s workforce,” Jason Palmer, director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives, said in a prepared statement. “Michigan’s labor force growth of 1.5 percent so far in 2016 has outpaced the national gain of 1.2 percent. The state recorded a minor workforce reduction in 2015.”

The official unemployment average is taken from a survey of households, and includes wage-earners of all types, including independent contractors and the self-employed. The narrower survey of employers only found a gain of 19,000 nonfarm payroll jobs. The biggest gain was the addition of 8,000 workers in the leisure and hospitality segment, followed by an increase of 6,000 jobs in construction and 4,000 jobs in professional and business services.

There was a loss of 2,000 jobs in the trade, transportation and utilities sector, plus a loss of 1,000 jobs each in transportation equipment and government.

Over time, the household and employer surveys tend to move in the same direction.

The state jobless rate remains lower than the national average, which was 4.9 percent for October.

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