Michigan regional unemployment rate changes mixed in December

Not seasonally adjusted jobless rates declined in 10 of Michigan’s 17 major labor market areas during December and increased seasonally in northern regions of the state, according to data released today by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget.

“Regional labor market conditions continued to show evidence of recovery in 2021,” said Wayne Rourke, associate director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives. “However, despite employment advances over the past year, jobless rates still remained above pre-pandemic levels.”  

Unemployment rate declines were minor, with a median decrease of two-tenths of a percentage point. Jobless rate increases occurred in five labor market areas over the month, led by the Northeast and Northwest Lower Michigan regions with rates advancing by 0.9 and 0.6 percentage points, respectively. Unemployment rates were unchanged in December in the Kalamazoo and Midland metro regions.

—Regional jobless rates decrease since December 2020

All 17 major Michigan labor markets recorded unemployment rate declines since December 2020, with a large median reduction of 2.2 percentage points.   
Michigan regional jobless rates in December remained higher than pre-pandemic December 2019 rates, with a median increase of 1.3 percentage points.  

—Employment levels display mixed trends over month and year

Regional employment levels were little changed in most metro areas in December. Employment moved up in eight labor market areas in December and declined in five regions.

The most pronounced change occurred in the Northeast Lower Michigan region, with a seasonal employment cut of 2.3 percent in December. The Battle Creek, Detroit, Jackson, and Midland metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) all had no change in employment over the month.

Total employment rose in nine regions and fell in eight labor market areas over the year.

All 17 Michigan regional employment levels were below pre-pandemic December 2019 totals, with a median reduction of 5.5 percent over this period.

—Workforce levels mixed over month, down over year

Seven Michigan regions exhibited labor force decreases over the month, led by the Northeast Lower Michigan region (-1.5 percent). Workforce levels edged up in six labor market areas and remained unchanged since November in the Bay City, Jackson, Kalamazoo, and Monroe MSAs.

Workforce levels fell in all 17 labor market areas over the year, with the largest reduction occurring in the Battle Creek metro region (-4.7 percent).  

—Regional payroll employment recedes during December

Not seasonally adjusted Michigan payroll jobs fell seasonally by 16,000, or 0.4 percent, during December, according to the monthly survey of employers. This resulted in a payroll job total of 4,256,000. Industries with the largest job declines included construction (-10,000), government (-7,000), and leisure and hospitality (-6,000).

Eleven Michigan metro areas recorded monthly nonfarm job cuts, with a median reduction of 0.7 percent. Payroll employment edged up in the Muskegon, Flint, and Detroit MSAs.

Michigan total payroll jobs rose by 223,000, or 5.5 percent, over the year. All fourteen metro areas added jobs over the year, with a median gain of 4.8 percent.

—County jobless rates increase over month, decrease over year

Fifty-nine Michigan counties registered hikes in unemployment rates over the month. Fifteen areas recorded rate decreases, while nine areas had no jobless rate change in December. All 83 counties displayed unemployment rate declines over the year.