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Michigan's jobless rate continues slow trend toward pre-pandemic level

A sign at a Sault St. Marie restaurant advertises open jobs.
Brett Dahlberg
Michigan Radio
A sign at a Sault St. Marie restaurant advertises open jobs.

Michigan’s August jobs report was released Wednesday, and it shows more people found work last month as the jobless rate dropped 0.1% to 4.1%.

Jobs gains ran just slightly ahead of job losses last month, which is consistent with the recent month-to-month trend of modest-but-steady improvement toward the recovery of the millions of jobs lost during the pandemic.

“The big takeaway from this jobs report is that jobs are continuing to improve from a couple years ago and the unemployment rate is still going down,” said Wayne Rourke with the Michigan Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives.

“This is the first time since February of 2020 that state payrolls jobs have been within 100,000 of that pre-pandemic level. So they’re going in the right direction in the industries that were the hardest hit," Rourke said.

Michigan’s unemployment rate peaked at about 24% during the pandemic in 2020, according to federal data. More than 1 million people were unemployed in the state at that point.

The report shows the biggest jobs gains last month were in the leisure and hospitality, manufacturing, education, and health sectors. The professional and business services sectors lost jobs.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer cheered the new jobs numbers in a statement released by her office.

“Because of our hardworking people, innovative businesses, and resilient communities, our unemployment rate is now at the lowest rate in years and the economy added 135,000 jobs in the last year alone,” she said. “We still have a lot of work to do, but we have the momentum.”

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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