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Michigan’s Jobless Rate Declines in December

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Michigan’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate decreased by three-tenths of a percentage point to 5.6% last month, according to data released by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget on Thursday.

Officials say the number of those employed increased by 16,000, while the total of those unemployed dropped by 15,000.

Additionally, Michigan’s workforce was almost unchanged over the month of December.

“Labor market conditions in Michigan showed clear improvement in 2021,” said Wayne Rourke, associate director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives. “The unemployment rate fell sharply over the year, and payroll jobs rose steadily throughout 2021.”

According to the department, the U.S. jobless rate decreased significantly by three-tenths of a percentage point last month to 3.9%. The state’s unemployment rate was 1.7 percentage points above the national rate.

On the other hand, the United States’ unemployment rate dropped by 2.8 percentage points since Dec. 2020, which is similar to Michigan’s trend of -2.6 percentage points.

The Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget notes the following monthly and annual labor force trends and highlights:

  • The number of employed statewide rose by 0.4% during Dec., an increase similar to that exhibited across the country
  • Michigan’s workforce dropped by 2.0% over the year, while the U.S. total labor force increased by 1.0% since Dec. 2020
  • Statewide number of unemployed dropped significantly by 33.8% over the year, but that was outpaced by a 41.4% reduction in those unemployed in the U.S.

On an additional note, the department says that Michigan’s Dec. 2021 unemployment rate remained above pre-pandemic levels.

Officials say the state’s Dec. 2021 jobless rate of 5.6% was nearly two percentage points above the pre-pandemic Feb. 2020 rate.

The state’s employment total in Dec. 2021 was 249,000, or 5.3%, below the Feb. 2020 level, and the number of Michigan unemployed increased by 81,000 since Feb. 2020.

Furthermore, the department states that payroll jobs rose for the eighth consecutive month in Dec.

Total nonfarm employment in Michigan increased by 11,000, or 0.3%, last month, according to a monthly survey of employers, which resulted in a statewide job total of 4,248,000.

The department notes that Dec. job gain in the state were concentrated in the professional and business services sector by 9,000.

Industry employment trends and highlights can be found below:

  • Dec. 2021 was the eighth consecutive month of payroll employment advances in Michigan
  • The state’s retail trade sector had an addition of 2,000 over the month due to seasonal hiring for the holiday shopping season being slightly above average
  • Michigan’s leisure and hospitality industry showed the largest job reduction in Dec. by -4,000 as jobs decreased in accommodation and food services
  • T0tal payroll jobs increased by 220,000 (5.5%) over 2021, but total employment in Dec. was 205,000 below the Feb. 2020 pre-pandemic level
  • The most pronounced over-the-year industry job gains were exhibited in the state’s leisure and hospitality sector by 101,000, and professional and business services sector by 41,000. However, the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget note that leisure and hospitality still accounted for almost 30% of jobs lost in Michigan since Feb. 2020.
  • The monthly survey of employers indicated a preliminary 2021 annual average payroll job total of 4,160,000, which is 128,000 (3.2%) above the 2020 average job level in the state.

“Michigan’s economy is strong and getting stronger every day,” said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “In December 2021 alone, we added 11,000 jobs, and since December 2020, we’ve created 220,000 jobs. We’re rounding out eight straight months of job growth, unemployment is decreasing, and we still have billions from the American Rescue Plan and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Plan to invest in our families, communities and small businesses. I will work with anyone as we continue putting Michiganders first, getting more Michiganders back to work, and growing Michigan’s economy.”

For more detailed information from the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget, including data tables,