Friday, June 19, 2009

How Does Michigan's Unemployment Rate Stack Up Historically?

Those of us who find statistics an enjoyable and insightful pursuit might wonder, "Our unemployment here in Michigan is 14.1% now. How does that compare to everyone else?" Glad you asked.

Statistics Related to May 2009 Unemployment

Michigan has lost 302,800 jobs from May 2008 (4,180,400) to May 2009 (3,877,600). That's 7.2% of all the jobs recorded in May 2008—gone!

Michigan's closest "challenger" for the top spot is Oregon, at 12.4%. Rhode Island and South Carolina are tied for third at 12.1%.

Thirteen states and the District of Columbia have topped 10% unemployment this month.

Six states have unemployment rates below 6%: Iowa (5.8%), Nebraska (4.4%), North Dakota (4.4%), South Dakota (5.0%), Utah (5.4%), and Wyoming (5.0%).

Eleven states have unemployment rates that are less than half of Michigan's.

Michigan registered the single largest unemployment rate increase over the previous month (1.2% over April 2009). Michigan's was the second-largest jobless rate increase in the last twelve months (5.9%); Oregon's increased by 6.7%.

Historical Comparisons

The data I have been citing comes from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (your tax dollars at work!). The chart of data gives both this month's data plus the highest and lowest unemployment rates for any month since 1976; apparently there are differences in how unemployment rates were computed prior to that date which make comparisons less valid. Additional data is available here. Here are some notable facts:

Michigan's highest unemployment rate during this period was 16.9%, in November 1982.

Only two other states have ever had unemployment rates higher than Michigan's current rate in the past 33 years: Alabama (highest was 14.4% in Dec. 1982) and West Virginia (highest was 18.2% in March 1983).

Twenty states have never had a monthly unemployment rate of at least 10% since 1976.

Eight states had a higher unemployment rate in May 2009 than any month since 1976. All of them had unemployment rates of at least 9.7%.

Michigan's lowest unemployment rate since 1976 was 3.2% in March 2000...less than one-fourth of our current rate.


Tim Wohlford said...

And the last I checked, reputable economists are predicting that we'll set a new record by the end of the year. In one case, the guy said we might come close to 20%.

A Conservative Teacher said...

Thank you Michigan residents for voting in a young inexperienced politician promising change and hope- Granholm has really turned best to worst! That's why you need to vote Republican!