Jobless rate continues downward trend

Michigan’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in January declined over the month by four-tenths of a percentage point to 10.7 percent (December’s rate was revised downward by six-tenths of a percentage point to 11.1 percent). Unemployment decreased over the month by 21,000 as total employment increased by 16,000, according to data released by the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth (DELEG) recently. The state’s labor force was little changed in January, edging downward by 5,000. Michigan’s unemployment rate was one and seven-tenths percentage points above the U.S. January rate of 9 percent.

The Michigan jobless rate in January 2011 was three full percentage points below the January 2010 rate of 13.7 percent. The national jobless rate decreased by seven-tenths of a percentage point over this period.

“Recent data for the second half of 2010 and early 2011 point to an improving labor market situation for Michigan,” said Rick Waclawek, director of DELEG’s Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives. “However, payroll job totals remain well below, and unemployment rates well above pre-recessionary levels.”

Some monthly labor force trends and highlights include:

• January marked the lowest monthly jobless rate for Michigan since the December 2008 rate of 10.6 percent. The state’s monthly unemployment rates have been trending downward since the recent peak of 14.1 percent posted in both August and September 2009.

• After remaining essentially flat in late 2009 through early 2010, Michigan’s labor force has declined since April 2010. From January 2010 to January 2011, the state’s workforce fell by 74,000 or 1.5 percent.

• Total employment fell sharply throughout 2009 in Michigan, but leveled out and then trended upward in 2010. Since January 2010, total employment advanced by 75,000 or 1.8 percent.

• From January 2010 to January 2011, unemployment in the state fell by 23 percent, which compares favorably to the 7 percent decline nationally.