Michigan Jobless Rate Lowest In 17 Years

Jul 20, 2017

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Michigan’s monthly jobless rate has dropped to its lowest rate in 17 years.  But, that has more to do with fewer people looking for work than new hiring.


The pool of people who are employed hunting for jobs fell last month by 29,000.  The fact that fewer people were competing for employment was the key factor in driving the jobless rate down to 3.8 percent. 

But Bruce Weaver with the Michigan Bureau of Labor Market Information says hiring is up over the past 12 months.

“The jobless rate has fallen quite significantly over the year.  The rate has dropped a full percentage point from the four-point-eight percent rate that existed in back in June of 2016.”

He says the most robust new hiring is in business services, which includes temp work and construction.  

“Most industries in Michigan have added jobs over the year,” said Weaver.  The one exception to the rule would be the retail sector.” 

Weaver says that’s largely because retail chains continue to close brick and mortar stores.  

Governor Rick Snyder focused on the longer trend in a written statement on the new jobless numbers:

"Not only is statewide unemployment once again below the national average -- it’s Michigan’s lowest rate recorded since August 2000.  This is another exciting step on the path toward our future as Michigan’s reinvention continues.  We’re going to keep that momentum going now as we continue to build and educate our workforce and create more and better jobs.”  

When people who’ve quit looking for work, and part-timers who want full-time jobs are factored in, Michigan’s rate of unemployment and under-employment is 9.5 percent. 

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— Rick Pluta is the Managing Editor and Reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network.  Contact WEMU News at 734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org