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Unemployment in Michigan declines, labor force reaches yearly high

Mark Brush
Michigan Radio

Michigan’s unemployment rate declined to 9.1 percent in the month of October, while total employment rose by 13,000, according to a report released today by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget (DTMB).

The unemployment number is down eight-tenths of a percentage point from the same time last year.

Rick Waclawek, director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives,  said that Michigan has seen "modest improvements" in several labor market indicators since 2011.

Here are a few more highlights from the report:

October marked the second consecutive monthly jobless rate decline for Michigan. The state rate peaked in 2012 at 9.4 percent in August. Through ten months of 2012, Michigan’s year-to-date unemployment rate has averaged 8.9 percent, well below the 2011 annual average rate of 10.3 percent. 2012 will mark the third year in a row of jobless rate reductions. Michigan’s workforce advanced in October for the second consecutive month to reach the highest level in 2012. Over the year, the state’s labor force rose by 32,000 or 0.7 percent. Since October 2011, the number of unemployed in the state fell by 32,000 or 7.0 percent.

While total employment is up, the number of seasonally adjusted Michigan payroll jobs has slipped for the third consecutive month.

The graph above shows DTMB's data on the labor force and the unemployment rate over the past decade.

Michigan Public Radio Network's Rick Pluta spoke with Bruce Weaver, an economist with the state Bureau of Labor Information.

He said these areas have seen job gains over the past year:

  • manufacturing
  • business services
  • temporary help

While these areas have seen losses:

  • construction
  • retail
  • local government

For more information on what these numbers mean, see this explanation by Michigan Radio's Mark Brush.

- Jordan Wyant, Michigan Radio Newsroom

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