LANSING – The state unemployment rate in July improved to 8.7% from the previous month’s 14.8%, the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget (DTMB) reported Wednesday.

The U.S. jobless rate moved down by nine-tenths of a percentage point between June and July to 10.2%, meaning Michigan’s July rate was 1.5 percentage points below the national rate.

Still, the state said a better measure of Michigan’s unemployment picture may be that from May-July, when Michigan’s employment level averaged 652,000 below the pre-pandemic February 2020 level, while the unemployment level averaged 543,000 above the pre-pandemic February 2020 level.

July payroll jobs in Michigan rose by 103,000, but this was well below the 266,000 jobs added in the month of June.

“Michigan has now recovered about half of the coronavirus-related job cuts that occurred in March and April 2020,” said Jason Palmer, director of DTMB’s Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives.