Mich. unemployment dips for a 2nd month

Brian J. O’Connor| The Detroit News

Michigan’s jobless rate dropped for the second month in a row in October, falling two-tenths of a percentage point from 9.3 percent to 9.1 percent.

Data released Wednesday by the Department of Technology, Management & Budget showed total employment in Michigan rose by 13,000 in October. The number of workers looking for jobs fell by 5,000, and the state labor force grew by 7,000 during the month.

The unemployment rate is down nearly a full percentage point from the state’s rate of 9.9 percent a year ago, and down three-tenths of a point from this year’s peak of 9.4percent in August. October’s rate, however, is still eight-tenths of percentage point above April’s rate of 8.3percent, the low for the year to date.

Despite the big rebound in manufacturing jobs in the state, especially in the automotive industry, Michigan’s jobless rate remains well above the national rate of 7.9 percent.

“We’ve seen some gains in the workforce and modest job growth, which has helped push the jobless rate down,” said Bruce Weaver, an analyst with the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget.

A total of 32,000 fewer men and women are unemployed since last October, 64,000 more jobs are filled, and the state labor force — the total of people working or looking for a job — has increased by 32,000.

As has happened a couple of times this year, the difference between the total jobs report — which surveys households by asking how many people are working — showed a gain of 13,000 jobs in October, but the payroll report from employers showed a decline of 17,000 jobs. The two reports may be skewing along lines of methodology or seasonal adjustment, but tend to catch up and show the same trends over time, Weaver noted.

“If you take the longer view, payroll jobs are up about 53,000 and total employment is up about 64,000 from October 2011 to October 2012,” Weaver said. “Both surveys show employment growth even though they went in different directions in October.”

boconnor@detnews.com

(313) 222-2145

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