Friday, August 20, 2010

Michigan Leads Nation in Employment Gains in July

Hat tip to MLive Job Search via the Bureau of Labor Statistics - this fact is worth a front page post. Not sure of when the last time this happened, but for July of 2010, we led the nation in job gains - and by a pretty healthy margin, too.

In July, nonfarm payroll employment increased in 37 states and the District of Columbia and decreased in 13 states. The largest over-the-month increases in employment occurred in Michigan (+27,800), the District of Columbia (+17,800), Massachusetts (+13,200), New York (+10,500), and Minnesota (+9,800). The District of Columbia recorded the largest over-the-month percentage increase in employment (+2.5 percent), followed by Hawaii and Maine (+0.9 percent each), Michigan (+0.7 percent), and Oklahoma (+0.5 percent).

Our unemployment rate fell for the fourth straight month, albeit just slightly, down to 13.1. Nevada is still leading the nation at 14.3, and California follows us at 12.3 - so we probably won't move off that position anytime soon. But for now, the surge in manufacturing is the main reason we are leading the pack when it comes adding new jobs.

Michigan's employment gains were due to a 20,100 increase in factory jobs.

Michigan’s manufacturing job market has stabilized thus far in 2010, said Rick Waclawek, director of DELEG’s Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives in a statement. "Automakers and suppliers minimized July retooling layoffs, reflecting streamlined production schedules, strong vehicle sales, and lean inventories," he said.

Economists warn that this may slow as the year goes on (and some leading indicators are already reflecting that fact), but for now we have a little manufacturing momentum going for us, which is very nice. Hope to keep it that way.

Another area we have to watch out for this fall is public sector layoffs. The top two states that lost the most jobs in July, North Carolina and New Jersey, came because of budget cuts to education and reductions in local government. The LSJ warned this morning that Governor Granholm's latest budget proposal will certainly include layoffs with a 3% across-the-board cut to state departments, but, as state agencies are scrambling to shake the loose change from the couch to prevent that from happening, we will see what comes out in the long run.

And remember, the bottom line is this: We can raise revenue, or we can make cuts. Since the Legislature refuses to raise revenue, we are going to make cuts. All the kvetching in the world doesn't change the math (or the politics) of the situation. As long as the Republicans are saying "No!" to any sort of compromise on revenue, we don't have any options here - we just have to hope that these departments will be able to hold the layoffs to a minimum.