Michigan's unemployment rate dips to 8.8% in February

Posted on March 29, 2013

Employers added 14,000 new jobs in Michigan in February, and the state’s unemployment rate ticked down a tenth of a point to 8.8%, the state reported Wednesday.

Although Michigan’s jobless rate remains historically high, the latest data contained some positive notes. The rate has been trending downward slowly in recent months, and February’s 8.8% rate was the state’s lowest since an 8.5% rate in August 2008.

“In late 2012 into early 2013, the Michigan unemployment rate has trended slightly downward,” said Rick Waclawek, director of the state’s Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives. “Several major industry sectors in the state have recorded moderate job gains in early 2013 including professional and business services, education and health services and retail trade.”

The national unemployment rate stood at 7.7% in February.

Specific job gains in Michigan last month were notched in professional and business services, which gained 6,000 jobs, education and health services (up 5,000), and trade, transportation and utilities (up 3,000).

These job gains were somewhat countered by a decline in the government sector, which lost 4,000 jobs over the month. The state’s remaining major industry sectors recorded mostly minor changes.

Overall, Michigan boasted 51,000 more jobs in February than 12 months earlier.

Although Michigan had suffered the highest unemployment rate among the 50 states for more than two years during the Great Recession, topping out at more than 14%, the dramatic recovery of the domestic auto industry has brought that rate down sharply over the past three years.

John Gallagher, Detroit Free Press.