LANSING – Seasonally unadjusted unemployment rates in May edged up in 12 of Michigan’s 17 regional labor markets, according to data from the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget. Both total employment and total workforce levels rose in most labor market areas over the month.

“Most metro areas in Michigan recorded modest jobless rate advances in May,” said Jason Palmer, director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives, “Significant employment gains were seen in the state’s northern Lower Michigan regions due to seasonal hiring in the recreation services industry.”  

During May, regional unemployment rate advances ranged from 0.1 to 1.3 percentage points with a median increase of a third of a percentage point. The Flint metropolitan statistical area (MSA) recorded the largest jobless rate advance (+1.3 percentage points), due to a temporary layoff in the auto industry. Both the Northeast and Northwest Lower Michigan regions recorded jobless rate declines over the month, as well as the Upper Peninsula. Jobless rates in the Bay City and Midland MSAs remained unchanged in May.

Over the past year, unemployment rates advanced in seven regions, fell in six, and remained unchanged in four. The most prominent over-the-year rate increase occurred in the Flint MSA (+1.3) while both the Northeast and Northwest Lower Michigan regions had the largest over-the-year jobless rate declines of 0.4 percentage points. The Bay City, Kalamazoo-Portage, Lansing-East Lansing, and Niles-Benton Harbor MSA jobless rates all remained unchanged over the year.

Between April and May, total employment levels moved up seasonally in twelve labor market areas. Employment gains ranged from 0.2 to 5.9 percent with a median increase of 0.8 percent. The largest over-the-month percent employment hikes occurred in the Northeast Lower Michigan (+5.9%) and Northwest Lower Michigan (+5.1%) regions. Four areas exhibited employment declines over the month, led by the Ann Arbor MSA (-1.3%). The Saginaw MSA employment level remained unchanged in May.

Since May 2018, total employment advanced in 15 regions, up by 0.1 to 1.8 percent. The Northwest Lower Michigan region exhibited the largest percent employment addition over the year. Two regions registered small employment reductions since May 2018, led by Midland (-0.3%).

Between April and May, workforce levels rose seasonally in 15 regions with gains ranging from 0.1 to 4.2 percent and a median increase of 0.7 percent. The Kalamazoo-Portage and Ann Arbor MSAs exhibited workforce cuts over the month.

Fifteen Michigan regions had labor force additions since May 2018. Advances ranged from 0.4 to 2.1 percent with a median gain of 0.9 percent. The Bay City and Midland MSAs were the only regions to show workforce reductions over the year.  

The monthly survey of employers indicated that unadjusted payroll jobs in Michigan moved up by 44,000 or 1.0 percent in May to 4,470,000. May job gains were largely seasonal and led on a percentage basis by construction (+6.6%) and leisure and hospitality (+6.1%). Both the government and education and health services industries recorded employment declines since April, due to the end of the winter/spring semester at local schools and colleges and universities.

Nonfarm employment rose seasonally in 12 Michigan metro regions during the month of May. Job additions ranged from 0.2 to 1.7 percent with the largest percentage gains recorded in the Muskegon (+1.7%) and Midland (+1.6%) metro areas. The Ann Arbor and Flint MSAs were the only metro regions with job declines over the month.

Since May 2018, seasonally unadjusted jobs increased statewide by 22,000, or 0.5 percent. Eight Michigan regions added jobs over this period, led on a percentage basis by Monroe (+1.7%). Nonfarm jobs fell in six regions over the year, led by the Flint (-1.0%) and Midland (-1.0%) metro areas.  

Out of Michigan’s 83 counties, 46 had jobless rate cuts in May, 29 exhibited rate hikes, and eight remained unchanged. Over the year, unemployment rates edged down in 44 counties, rose in 29, and remained unchanged in ten.  

Source Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget.

For a breakdown of seasonally unadjusted May workforce estimates for Michigan and its 17 major market areas, and a list of county jobless rates for May, view the full release.