Michigan jobless rate improves slightly to 9.3% in September

John Gallagher| Detroit Free Press

Michigan’s unemployment rate in September improved slightly, edging downward one-tenth of a percentage point to 9.3%, though total payroll employment in the state dropped slightly because of the end of summer seasonal jobs.

Data released Wednesday by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget showed that employers eliminated 13,000 jobs in the state last month. The declines were led by a late-summer drop in leisure and hospitality services, which shed 7,000 workers, and government, which lost 5,000.

The losses were somewhat offset by a gain of 3,000 jobs in the construction sector as the building industry strengthened after several poor years.

“Michigan unemployment rates thus far in 2012 have been well below 2011 levels, and payroll jobs have increased during each of the first three quarters of 2012,” said Rick Waclawek, director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives.

Bruce Weaver, an economist with the state, said the job losses in the leisure and hospitality industry as well as in local government represent the end of summer seasonal employment.

Hotels, restaurants and tourism destinations tend to reduce employment as students head back to school, he said. Local governments also typically downsize in September by reducing seasonal staffing levels.

“This is not some unusual economic event,” he said.

Meanwhile, the national unemployment rate in September stood at 7.8%.

Contact John Gallagher: 313-222-5173 or gallagher99@freepress.com

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