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Michigan’s jobs numbers show more people looking for, finding work

Tim Mossholder

Michigan’s monthly unemployment number remained steady from November to December of last year at 4.3 % and the state’s 2023 average is below where it was in 2019 just before the COVID pandemic.

The seasonally adjusted December jobless numbers were released this week by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget.

“I think it says that Michigan is on an upward trend,” said Dylan Schafer, economic manager with the Michigan Center for Data and Analytics, which oversees collection of the data. “So, right now, we have been seeing overall increases in numerous industries and we’re showing that individuals are not having issues entering the labor force and they’re not having issues finding work at this time.”

Schafer told Michigan Public Radio the reason the November and December month-to-month percentages remained roughly the same is because more people are joining the workforce at roughly the same rate as employers are hiring.

“Businesses are aware that there is a demand for work right now and it seems to be that workers in Michigan are stepping up and looking to enter the labor force and become employed,” he said.

The workforce number combines people who are measured as employed with people who are not employed but looking for work. The December data shows the number of employed people grew by about 8,000 while the labor force grew by roughly 9,000.

Michigan’s labor force was nearly 4.8 million people in 2023. The sectors with the largest gains were government and education and health services.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network.