Print Friendly and PDF

Michigan’s Unemployment Rate Drops in Sept. But Labor Market Remains Tight

Detroit Free Press
Oct. 20, 2021
Adrienne Roberts

Michigan’s unemployment rate declined only slightly in September, dropping to 4.6% last month, the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget said Wednesday, even as enhanced federal jobless benefits in Michigan expired.

The jobless rate is down from 4.7% in August, and is significantly lower compared with the same month last year, when the state’s unemployment rate was 8.2%.

Last month marked the expiration of enhanced federal unemployment benefits that added $300 to claimants’ weekly benefit amount and expanded benefits to cover freelancers and gig workers who traditionally wouldn’t be eligible for regular jobless benefits.

Even though Michigan reinstated its work search requirement in May, many business owners and Republican leaders said the enhanced benefits were disincentivizing people from going back to work. Many Republican-led states ended the federal benefits program early, but data shows those states saw about the same job growth as the states that didn’t end the programs early.

Even after the benefits expired after Labor Day in Michigan, the state’s labor market was considered “stable” in September, and “the unemployment rate and payroll job counts both showed minimal change over the month,” said Wayne Rourke, associate director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives.

While the state and the U.S. have seen significant progress since the early days of the pandemic, there are still 226,000 fewer people employed in Michigan compared with February 2020, representing a 4.8% decline.

There are also 36,000 more Michigan residents who are unemployed compared with pre-pandemic February 2020 levels, a 19.4% increase.

Most industries in Michigan saw employment gains in September, but they were minor. On a seasonally adjusted basis, the leisure and hospitality industry saw the largest monthly increase, with employment levels rising by nearly 2% compared with August.

The unemployment rate in metro Detroit, which includes Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb, Oakland, St. Clair and Wayne counties, also declined slightly to 3.9%, down from 4.1% in August. The U.S. jobless rate, meanwhile, saw a large decrease, dropping to 4.8% in September, down from 5.2% the month prior.

View the original article.