WIN Releases Q4 2018 Labor Market Report – Labor Force and Employment Reach Post-Recession High

Employer demand continues to surge as most occupation groups experienced increases in online job postings from Q3 2018.

The Workforce Intelligence Network for Southeast Michigan (WIN) is pleased to release its Q4 2018 Labor Market report which highlights labor market information and real-time job posting data for the 16-county region of southeast Michigan. The counties include: Genesee, Hillsdale, Huron, Jackson, Lapeer, Lenawee, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, Saint Clair, Sanilac, Shiawassee, Tuscola, Washtenaw, and Wayne, along with the City of Detroit.

A workforce overview is also provided identifying key components of the area’s labor market including labor force status, demographic, and commuting data. WIN’s analysis of online job postings, a proxy for employer demand, is a pioneering method for tracking the health of the labor market. This data is used to provide a real-time demand overview, detailing posting related findings for both employers and job seekers.

WIN’s data and research team analyze job posting data at the occupation level within eleven customized occupation groups to provide more contextualized information. Occupation groups combine data for jobs with similar skillsets, educational attainment, and experience requirements, which provides a more in-depth snapshot of the current labor market when compared to traditional industry data.

State of the Labor Market

During 2018, the labor force figures increased in the 16-county region of southeast Michigan while employment continued to grow. With this simultaneous increase in both labor force and employment, the number of unemployed individuals decreased in the region. This has caused the unemployment rate to drop from the 4.5 percent annual rate in 2017 to an annual rate of 4.2 percent in 2018.

Employer demand for most occupation groups analyzed by WIN also increased during Q4 2018. The customer service occupation group reported the highest demand with over 81,000 job postings during the quarter. Other occupation groups also offer great job opportunities for active job seekers: Health care postings grew by 22 percent from Q2 2018, and 24 percent of postings were open to entry-level applicants.

Labor Force Reaches High While Unemployment Rate Drops

Moving into a ten-year high, the labor force in southeast Michigan increased by 4,572 individuals between 2017 and 2018. Employment increased by 12,685 workers between 2017 and 2018. With employment increasing at a greater rate than the labor force, the unemployment rate fell by 0.3 percentage points from the annual rate of 4.5 percent in 2017 to a 2018 annual rate of 4.2 percent in the 16-county region.

“The size of the labor force and employment reached a post-recession high at the end of 2018. The increased employer demand evident in every quarter of 2018 has most likely influenced the growth of workforce participants over the year,” said Michelle Wein, senior research manager at WIN.

Employer Demand Grows

Data from the fourth quarter of 2018, including posting information from October, November, and December, showed employer demand continue to grow from Q3 2018, throughout southeast Michigan.

There were 351,098 jobs posted, 24,393 more than the 326,705 jobs posted during Q3 2018 in the 16-county region. “While most occupation groups analyzed experienced an increase during the fourth quarter it was the customer service, health care, and IT groups which saw increases of more than 2,000 postings from last quarter Q3 2018,” said Workforce Intelligence Network, Executive Director, Michele Economou Ureste. “Online job postings made by employers in the health care occupation group were up by 22 percent from the previous quarter.”

Bachelor’s Degree Most In-demand Minimum Education Level

While only 58 percent of job postings identified a minimum education level, nearly a quarter (24.41 percent) of the 331,528 jobs posted in southeast Michigan indicated the need for candidates with a bachelor’s degree. Another 20 percent of these postings were looking for applicants with a high school diploma or equivalent. Higher education attainment tends to lead to more lucrative opportunities, but many entry-level opportunities exist for each educational attainment level.

Occupation Groups

The Q4 2018 Labor Market Report concludes with a closer look at the occupation level within eleven customized occupation groups. Occupation groups combine data for jobs with similar skillsets, educational attainment, and experience requirements, which provides a more in-depth snapshot of the current labor market when compared to traditional industry data based upon North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes. Occupation outlook sections utilize these metrics to identify and display the top in-demand jobs, their entry requirements, and their earning potential.

The eleven occupation groups are listed below with 2018 occupation levels and percentage change since Q4 2017:

AGRICULTURE – 81,391 (0.5% Increase)

BUSINESS AND FINANCE – 198,865 (0.4% Increase)

CONSTRUCTION – 105,079 (0.4% Increase)

CUSTOMER SERVICE – 630,629 (0.1% Decrease)

EDUCATION – 135,733 (0.2% Increase)

ENERGY – 219,057 (0.9% Increase)

ENGINEERING AND DESIGN – 98,024 (1.1% Increase)

HEALTH CARE – 265,267 (0.4% Increase)

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (IT) – 85,841 (0.3% Increase)



Download this and other WIN Labor Market Reports by visiting the WIN Labor Market Reports – REAL-TIME WORKFORCE INDICATORS section of the Workforce Intelligence Network website.


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