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Michigan jobless rate fell slightly in September as some quit looking for work

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News

Michigan's seasonal unemployment rate fell by two-tenths of a percentage point in September to 8.5%, mainly attributable to people who have stopped looking for work.

The number of employed and unemployed workers in Michigan both declined in September, as the workforce decreased by 23,000 during the month, according to data released Wednesday by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget.

Michigan's jobless rate fell by two-tenths of a percentage point in September to 8.5%, mainly because some stopped looking for work.

“Michigan’s labor market indicators were mixed in September,” said Wayne Rourke, acting director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives. “The recovery of employment and payroll jobs has slowed in recent months, and the September decline in the unemployment rate was primarily due to fewer people in the labor force.”

The findings highlighted that the total workforce in Michigan declined by 49,000, or 1% since September 2019, attributable to the offset of workers during the pandemic.

The U.S. unemployment rate fell by half a percentage point between August and September to 7.9%. Michigan’s rate in September was six-tenths of a percentage point above the national rate.

Over the year, Michigan's unemployment rate has advanced by 4.6%, while the U.S. rate rose by 4.4%, the department said.

Since the height of the pandemic in April, total employment advanced by 985,000, or 28.2%; however, employment remains nearly 300,000 below February levels, officials said.

More than 224,000, or 116%, became unemployed in the state, and was similar to the large unemployment rates nationally, an increase of 118%.

The Detroit-Warren-Dearborn Metropolitan Statistical Area’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate increased by two-tenths of a percentage point in September to 9.8%. Employment was little changed, while unemployment edged up by 5,000, officials said.

The region's jobless rate rose by 5.7% over the past year. Employment fell significantly by 201,000, while the number of metro area unemployed surged by 116,000 since September 2019.

The department found that non-farm or agriculture jobs increased in September, but were below the pace of recent months.

The monthly survey of employers recorded a seasonal gain of 18,000 Michigan payroll jobs in September, an increase of 0.5%, one-third of the jobs added in August.

The largest nonfarm job gain was in the leisure and hospitality industry, with a September employment hike of 10,000, or 3.7%. Michigan’s government sector recorded a seasonally adjusted monthly job cut of 12,000, or 2.1%, as job additions at colleges and local schools were below typical September trends.

Since April, nonfarm employment rose by 612,000, or approximately 18%.

Over the year, total Michigan payroll employment fell sharply by 425,000, or 9.6%.

Jobs in the state’s education and health services sector rose due to recalls for five straight months but remain down by 57,000, or 8.3%, since September 2019.

The Michigan third quarter payroll job average of 3,983,000 was 379,000, or 10.5%, above the second-quarter average employment level, officials said.

Twitter: @SarahRahal_