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Michigan Regional Jobless Rates Edge Down in August

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Not seasonally adjusted unemployment rates declined in 15 of Michigan’s 17 labor market areas in August 2021, according to data released from the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget.

“Most of Michigan’s regional labor markets displayed typical seasonal trends in August,” said Wayne Rourke, associate director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives. “Unemployment rates fell in most areas. Two regions with jobless rate increases in August had temporary auto-related layoffs due to the continuing semiconductor chip shortage.” Those two areas were Lansing and Flint.

Michigan regional unemployment rate declines ranged from 0.2 to 1.7 percentage points, with a median decrease of 0.8 percentage points. In Southwest Michigan, the trend was consistent with the overall combined regional rate having dropped 0.7 percentage points from July 2021. Berrien and Calhoun counties realized the largest rate decline of 0.8 percentage points. The rate in Van Buren County declined 0.7 percentage points, followed by Branch and Kalamazoo Counties dropping 0.6 points.

Visit the DTMB’s site to see rankings by county, county labor force numbers, and an overall snapshot of Michigan’s employment or download a summary report here provided by local economic development catalyst Southwest Michigan First.

The National Outlook
The national not seasonally unemployment rate in August 2021 was 5.3 percent, not seasonally adjusted, which represents a 3.2 percentage point drop from the previous year and a 0.4 percentage point decrease from the previous month.

The number of unemployed persons in the U.S. decreased by 665,000 persons from July 2021 (9,221,000 unemployed persons) to August 2021 (8,556,000 unemployed persons). Yet, the total civilian labor force shrunk over the month by 1,029,000 persons from 162,817,000 in July 2021 to 161,788,000 in August 2021. As of August 2021, 153,232,000 persons were employed.

Here in Michigan
The state of Michigan posted a not seasonally adjusted August 2021 unemployment rate of 4.4 percent, 0.9 percentage points below the national average. This represents a 0.6 percentage point decrease from July 2021’s rate of 5.0 percent. Back in August 2020, unemployment in Michigan stood at 8.9 percent. For Michigan MSAs, Detroit-Warren-Dearborn had the lowest unemployment rate in August at 3.7 percent, followed by Ann Arbor at 3.8 percent and then Grand Rapids-Wyoming and Midland at 3.9 percent. The Kalamazoo-Portage MSA rounded out the state’s top five MSAs with the lowest unemployment at 4.6 percent.

Across the state, the number of unemployed persons in decreased by 32,000 persons from July 2021 (242,000 unemployed persons) to August 2021 (210,000 unemployed persons). The total civilian labor force declined over the month by 94,000 persons from 4,872,000 in July 2021 to 4,778,000 in August 2021. As of August 2021, 4,568,000 persons were employed in Michigan.

County by County: Regional Unemployment Declines to 4.8 Percent in August
When breaking the numbers down by county, the combined, not seasonally adjusted, August 2021 jobless rate of 4.8 percent for the seven-county Southwest Michigan region declined 0.7 percentage points from July 2021. A year ago, in August 2020, the rate was 8.3 percent. Among regional counties, the lowest jobless rates were found in Branch County at 4.2 percent and then Cass County at 4.3 percent. The region’s largest employing county of Kalamazoo posted a rate of 4.5 percent. Berrien County’s rate was 4.8 percent, St. Joseph and Van Buren counties were at 4.9 percent, and Calhoun County posted 5.8 percent.

The region recorded a total labor force of 366,497 in August 2021, representing a 3,784-person decline from the 370,281-person labor force in July 2021. Employed persons declined by 1,158 over the month from 350,025 in July 2021 to 348,867 in August 2021. The number of unemployed persons decreased by 2,635 over the month from 20,256 in July 2021 to 17,621 in August 2021.

Source: Michigan DTMB: Michigan Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives, Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS), August 2021. Notes: All estimates are preliminary. Data is not seasonally adjusted.

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