News Story

We're No. 1: Unemployment in Michigan Fell Faster Than Anywhere Else

More workers now, and more jobs per worker

Michigan’s unemployment rate has been heading in the right direction – down – faster than any other state's rate since the official end of the Great Recession in June 2009.

Unemployment in the state peaked at 14.9 percent in June of 2009. But as of last month, the Michigan jobless rate was at 4.6 percent by the National Bureau of Economic Research, a decline of more than 10 percentage points.

From April 2006 through May 2010, or 49 months in a row, Michigan had the nation’s highest unemployment. The state is now ranked 24th instead of first for the percentage of the workforce without a job.

After Michigan, Oregon and Tennessee had the largest declines in unemployment since June 2009. Oregon’s rate fell from 11.8 percent to 4.8 percent while Tennessee dropped from 11.1 percent to 4.1 percent.

James Hohman, the assistant director of fiscal policy for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, said there has been some criticism of Michigan’s economic recovery due to the decrease in the size of the labor force.

“That explained some of the state’s early recovery,” Hohman said in an email. More recently, the number of people working or looking for work has risen, but the number of jobs available has risen faster.

Specifically, the number of people working in Michigan has grown by 379,538 since April 2012 (9.0 percent). The number of people in the state labor force, meanwhile, grew by 177,220 (3.8 percent).