Michigan’s jobless rate drops to 8.9%

Brian J. O’Connor| The Detroit News

Michigan’s November jobless rate dropped by another two-tenths of a point, putting the state on track to post its second straight year of job growth in more than a decade.

Unemployment in the state dipped from 9.1 percent during October to 8.9 percent in November, according to data released Wednesday by the Department of Technology, Management & Budget. That rate is seven-tenths of a point below the jobless rate of November 2011, but still 1.2 points above the national unemployment rate.

From January through November, Michigan has added an annual average of 41,000 non-farm payroll jobs, on top of 72,000 jobs last year. Before last year, Michigan had been steadily losing paycheck jobs for years, notes Bruce Weaver, an economic analyst with the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget.

“It’ll be our second consecutive year of job growth after 10 straight years of job declines dating back to 2000,” Weaver said.

From 2001 to 2010 the state’s payroll job losses ranged from less than 8,000 in 2010 to more than 290,000 during 2009.

Even after two years of growth, Michigan still has nearly 700,000 fewer payroll jobs than at the end of 2000.

And while the November numbers helped push the official rate down, it came because 24,000 workers dropped out of the state labor force during the month, meaning they either moved out of the state, went back to school, retired, quit looking for work or died. That includes 15,000 fewer unemployed workers, and 9,000 fewer jobs.

The jobs data, however, comes from a household survey of all workers. A survey of employers found 10,000 payroll jobs added.

While the two surveys often move in different directions during a single month, over time they tend to demonstrate the same trend, which is that a small but persistent improvement in the number of men and women in the state holding down jobs.

“The two series of numbers basically are showing moderate job increases in Michigan during 2012,” Weaver said.

So far this year, 18,000 manufacturing jobs were added, while 6,000 construction jobs have been lost.


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