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Michigan's unemployment rate down to 5.3%, matches national rate

The Michigan unemployment rate (red line) graphed with the overall labor force in Michigan (blue line).
Mark Brush
Michigan Radio
The Michigan unemployment rate (red line) graphed with the overall labor force in Michigan (blue line).

Michigan’s monthly unemployment rate dropped to 5.3% (the red line in the graph above). That’s the lowest it’s been in 14 years, and it matches the national average.

But the drop this month is due mostly to fewer people out looking for work.

More from the Michigan Department of Labor, Technology and Budget office press release:

“Michigan’s labor market has displayed consistent recent job gains, and has outpaced the national growth rate in payroll jobs so far in 2015,” said Jason Palmer, director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives. “The reduction in the state’s July jobless rate was primarily due to a minor decline in the number of individuals actively seeking work.”

The unemployment rate is a measure of those people working and those people not working who have actively sought work in the last month – more here. This group is known as the overall “labor force” (the blue line in the graph above).

As you can see, Michigan still has a long way to go to see labor force numbers that it once saw prior to the downturn in the auto industry.

The rate of unemployment and “under-employment” is more than twice the official jobless rate. When part-timers who want to be full-time, as well as people who’ve quit looking for work are counted, the rate goes up to 12.4%.  

Mark Brush was Michigan Radio’s Digital Media Director. He succumbed to a year-long battle with glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer, in March 2018. He was 49 years old.
Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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