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Michigan Labor Market Review – May 2023

May 16, 2023

Specialized Staffing

March Data - May Reporting


Michigan’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell by two-tenths of a percentage point between February and March to 4.1 percent.

The U.S. unemployment rate decreased by one-tenth of a percentage point between February and March to 3.5 percent. Michigan’s jobless rate was 0.6 percentage points larger than the U.S. rate. Over the year, the national unemployment rate receded by one-tenth of a percentage point, while Michigan’s rate remained unchanged since March 2022.

Michigan’s labor force rose by 0.2 percent over the month, while the U.S. labor force edged up 0.3 percent. Both statewide and national employment levels increased by 0.4 percent over the month. Total unemployment in Michigan fell by 3.4 percent over the month, while national unemployment declined by 1.6 percent.

Over the year, Michigan’s workforce advanced by 0.3 percent, 1.2 percentage points below the national labor force increase of 1.5 percent. Statewide employment edged up by 0.3 percent, while U.S. employment rose by 1.6 percent. Total unemployment in Michigan increased by 2.0 percent over the year, contrary to the reduction of 2.2 percent seen nationally.


Economic Analyst

Source: Local Area Unemployment Statistics, Michigan Center for Data and Analytics, Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget

Source: Local Area Unemployment Statistics, Michigan Center for Data and Analytics, Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget


Seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll jobs on the statewide level stayed mostly unchanged this month, rising by only 1,900 during March. However, with this slight employment increase, seasonally adjusted jobs in Michigan have now risen for five consecutive months or 20 months over the past two years. Payroll employment across Michigan was only 0.7 percent (-33,200) lower than its February 2020 pre-pandemic job level.

Nationally, seasonally adjusted payroll jobs also rose minimally over the month, moving up by only 0.2 percent (+236,000), during March. On the nationwide level, employment additions have been recorded for 27 consecutive months.

During March, numerous major industry sectors and subsectors recorded job increases over the month, which included Private education and health services (+1,900), Professional and business services (+1,300), and Leisure and hospitality (+600). Furthermore, more moderate job additions were noted within sectors such as Trade, transportation, and utilities and Government (+400). Conversely, several major industry sectors recorded notable job declines over the month, including Manufacturing (-1,300), Financial activities (-900), and Information (-500).

On a percentage basis, the largest over-the-month job increases were recorded in several sectors, including Private education and health services (+0.3 percent) and Construction (+0.2 percent). The largest percent decline in March was recorded within the Financial activities (-0.9 percent) sector.

Most Industries Have Added Jobs Since Last Year

Since March 2022, seasonally adjusted jobs in Michigan have increased by 1.7 percent (+75,100) over the year, significantly lower than the nation’s yearly rate of change (+2.7 percent). As of March 2023, over the year job gains were noted in every major industry sector in Michigan except for Financial activities (-2.5 percent) and Other services (-0.7 percent). Numerically, notable job additions were recorded within the Government (+21,800), Private educational and health services (+18,900), and Leisure and hospitality (+18,100) industries.

A Majority of Michigan Regions Recorded Growth in Education and Health Services and Leisure and Hospitality

Across Michigan’s 14 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), 13 out of 14 regions remained unchanged or recorded job growth over the month in March, on a not seasonally adjusted basis. The Jackson (-0.2 percent) metro area was the only region to record a negative rate of change. Seven metro areas in Michigan recorded a percent change similar to or greater than the national rate of change (+0.3 percent) during March. Three regions, Muskegon, Detroit, and Battle Creek, all noted the same job change percent as Michigan (+0.2 percent).

Most metro areas in Michigan recorded job gains within several industries during March, including the Educational and health services and Leisure and hospitality sectors, whereas a majority of Michigan regions noted job declines or saw no change within their respective Manufacturing and Trade, transportation, and utilities industry sectors.

The Government and Other services sectors remained virtually unchanged in a majority of Michigan metro areas, in line with typical seasonal job trends for these series’ during March.


Economic Analyst

Source: Current Employment Statistics, Michigan Center for Data and Analytics, Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget

Source: Current Employment Statistics, Michigan Center for Data and Analytics, Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget

Source: Current Employment Statistics, Michigan Center for Data and Analytics, Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget


The Michigan February job openings rate was 5.5 percent, a decrease of 0.7 percentage points since January according to the latest Michigan data released from the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS). The hires rate (3.7 percent) and separations rate (4.1 percent) were down over the month as well. Similarly, the quits rate (2.0 percent) and layoffs and discharges rate (0.9 percent) also experienced a decline. The unemployed persons to job openings ratio was the only survey indicator to increase over the month (0.80). 

Job Openings Dip in February

Job openings declined in February, dropping to 258,000 from 291,000 in January (-33,000). This was reflected in the job openings rate falling from 6.2 percent in the prior month to 5.5 percent. Openings were below the national rate of 6.0 percent during the same period. Michigan recorded the eighth-lowest rate of job openings, a slight change from 12th in the prior month.

The unemployed persons to job openings ratio increased to 0.80 in February, a small jump from 0.72 in January. This indicated that Michigan had eight unemployed persons per 10 job openings in February, which was notably higher than the national ratio at the time (0.60).

The Number of Hires Declines in Recent Months

Similar to job openings, the hires rate decreased 0.2 percentage points from January to February, moving to 3.7 percent. This translated to approximately 9,000 less individuals hired statewide in February. Michigan had the 12th lowest rate of hires, a marginal change from 13th in the month prior.

Separations Rate Indicates Less Workers are Leaving Their Current Jobs

Michigan’s separations rate decreased to 3.1 percent in February, down 0.5 percentage points from the previous month (3.6 percent). Numerically, this was reflected in 19,000 less employees separated from their jobs in February (138,000) than in January (157,000). Michigan’s separation rate was lower than the national rate (3.7 percent). February’s separations rate of 3.1 percent also matched a five year low, indicating fewer people are leaving their current jobs.

The quits rate declined marginally, from 2.2 percent to 2.0 percent. Michigan recorded the sixth-lowest rate of quits, which was relatively unchanged from the previous month’s ranking (7th). Quits were also below the national rate at the time (2.6 percent). Layoffs and discharges were also down over the month as well, with the rate dropping to 0.9 percent.

Labor Turnover Reached Three-Year Low

The labor turnover rate is a combination of the separations and hires rates. This rate experienced a decline in February, dropping from 7.5 percent to 6.8 percent. Most notably, this was the lowest recorded rate of labor turnover since January 2020 (6.5 percent). This was primarily driven by a 0.5 percentage point dip in separations in February, where previously this rate was stagnant. Michigan had the 7th lowest turnover rate amongst all states. This was below the national rate during the same period (3.7 percent).

Source: Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Source: Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


The Above Information was created and disseminated by the Department of Technology, Management, and Budget and the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives from the State of Michigan.  Specialized Staffing does not hold any rights or ownership to this content.  For more information, please contact your Michigan Bureau of Labor Representative. 

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