Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Michigan Unemployment Rate Drops, Hiring Expected to Improve

I do believe that the Michigan recovery is really starting to take shape. After a few months of holding my breath and waiting for the next blow to land, waiting for some tragedy that would send us spiraling down again - it looks like we have hit the bottom, and the signs are starting to point up.

The unemployment rate dropped in January...

Michigan's unemployment rate dipped slightly to 14.3 percent in January.

The seasonally adjusted jobless rate reported Tuesday is down from a revised rate of 14.5 percent in December. The state says the unemployment rate hasn't changed much since the middle of 2009 based on recent revisions to jobless statistics.

Michigan added an estimated 6,000 nonfarm payroll jobs in January. Manufacturing jobs increased while education and health service jobs declined.

Revise, they did. Checking with DeLEG's Labor Market Information site (the keeper of those official statistics), we never broke 15% last year at all. The high was December at 14.5, and we've been within a couple clicks of that since last July. (They also blew my Excel charts all to hell. Thanks guys.)

Better news on the horizon, too. Manpower indicates that a survey of employers shows all areas of the state will see improvement in hiring, with the exception of Flint, which will simply maintain. Tip of the hat to mlive's Michigan Job Search for putting together the following:

For the second quarter, job seekers can expect the following:

* In the Ann Arbor area, moderate growth is expected in hiring during the second quarter.
* In Michigan's largest job market, employers in the Detroit metro area are expected to hire at a favorable pace in the next three months.
* A strong job market is expected for the Grand Rapids-Wyoming area, where employers expect to hire at a solid pace in Q2.
* In the Holland/Grand Haven area, employers expect to hire at a healthy pace.
* Kalamazoo/Portage can expect a solid job market in the second quarter, as area employers say they will be hiring at an active pace.
* Employers in the Lansing/East Lansing are expected to hire at a respectable pace.
* A positive job market is forecast for southwest Michigan near the Indiana border in the second quarter.
* A flat job market is expected in Flint, where area employers expect to hire at a cautious pace during the second quarter.

Manpower's surveys always tend to be a bit optimistic, but hey, we'll take it. There is evidence on the national front that it really is happening. Job openings jumped up in January:

Job openings rose sharply earlier this year, a sign that employers might be preparing to step up hiring.

The number of openings in January rose about 7.6%, to 2.7 million, compared with December, the Labor Department said. And the job openings rate climbed to 2.1%, the highest in nearly a year. That rate measures available jobs as a percentage of total employment.

Cross your fingers, and knock on wood Dillon's head that this trend continues. It's so nice to hear good news.