unemployment

Unemployment rates fall across the state

Jun 7, 2019
Creative Commons

Unemployment rates are falling in all regions of the state, according to the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget.

Between March and April of this year, unemployment in the Northwest Lower Michigan region dropped 20.9 percent. 

Bill O'Brien with the Traverse City Chamber of Commerce says drops in unemployment rates aren't new — but they create unique complications for the local economy. 

Morgan Springer / Interlochen Public Radio

Five people who design newspaper layouts were laid off in Traverse City on Tuesday. They worked for CNHI, the company that owns the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

Record-Eagle Publisher Paul Heidbreder says the employees were part of a local "design hub" that worked on layouts for newspapers across the country, but CNHI is reducing the number of papers designed out of Traverse City. 

The Next Idea

Each month, the State of Michigan releases unemployment numbers, which are seen as a major indicator of the state’s economic health. One subset of these numbers is often overlooked — the employment levels for people with disabilities.

Michigan and other states struggle with the challenge of employing people in this group. The discrepancy is significant. As of March 2016, the national unemployment rate for people without disabilities was 4.9%. For people with disabilities, it was more than double that figure. Perhaps even more indicative of the challenge is the gap in the labor force participation rate of nearly 69% for people without disabilities, and almost 20% for people with disabilities.

A new study finds there are many challenges to Detroit residents accessing job opportunities.

The report, Detroit’s Untapped Talent: Jobs and On-Ramps Needed, was commissioned by JP Morgan Chase and Company and was compiled by Corporation for a Skilled Workforce.

Jeannine La Prad helped prepare the report.

With unemployment down, U.S. car and truck sales up, and consumer sentiment indices up, all the traditional signs point to an improving economy.

So why is it that many of us aren't feeling this prosperity?

Tom Walsh dug into this question for the Detroit Free Press.

DE-STA-CO manufacturing company has announced it will be closing its Charlevoix facility. DE-STA-CO makes parts for assembly lines. The company will begin laying off workers in early 2016, leaving over 100 people out of work.

Darren Greene, DE-STA-CO’s global marketing director, says the business is expanding and has decided to relocate to Tennessee.

The Next Idea

When the housing crisis hit in the mid-2000s, millions lost their jobs. Licensed home builder and Saginaw resident Jeff Little was one of them. 

Michigan’s unemployment rate has dropped to 5.6 percent. That’s a reduction of three-tenths of a percentage point, which is a bigger-than-usual adjustment.   

But that decline in the monthly rate is due to a reduction in the workforce, as it’s measured by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and the state Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives. Actual month-to-month new hiring was flat, but there were fewer people competing for those jobs.

That didn’t stop Governor Rick Snyder (R) from trumpeting the new jobs numbers in a prepared statement:

The latest "report card" on jobs in America points to a country continuing to recover from the Great Recession.

The national unemployment rate fell to 6.1%, the lowest level since September 2008. What does the June jobs report tell us about Michigan? Where have we made gains and where are we still hurting?

University of Michigan labor economist Don Grimes joined us to review the June employment numbers. 

Job growth in professional and financial services offset layoffs in Michigan’s auto industry to push the state’s unemployment rate down for the eighth month in a row. The new rate of 7.4 percent is one-tenth of a percentage point below where it was last month. And it’s one and a quarter percent below where it was a year ago.

Governor Rick Snyder says the numbers also show more people are looking for work.

Michigan’s unemployment rate dropped slightly in March to 7.5 percent.

This marks the seventh month in a row the rate has declined, and it’s the lowest it’s been since April of 2008. The jobless rate of seven and a half percent is a little more than a full percentage point below where it was at this time last year.

Most of the job gains over the past 12 months have been in the manufacturing, high-tech, and hotel-and-restaurant sectors. There were job losses in government and financial services.

Michigan's rate of unemployment has dropped to 8.4%.  A decline, even a small one, might be portrayed as good news.

But to put the number in perspective, you have to consider what the folks at the Bureau of Labor Statistics are measuring. The unemployment rate measures the number of people in the labor force that are out of work.

A measure of the buzzing bees

Think of the labor force as the number of people who have their worker bee wings buzzing. They're revved up and ready to work.

Michigan’s monthly unemployment rate dropped slightly to 8.8 percent last month. But the drop was due mostly to fewer people competing for jobs.

Gains in manufacturing jobs were offset by layoffs in the hospitality and government sectors. All in all, 17,000 people simply dropped out of the workforce, which pushed the jobless number down.