Today’s release of regional and state unemployment figures reinforces what is becoming increasing clear. Michigan’s economy is recovering, and it has been recovering at a faster rate than the nation as a whole.
Michigan’s recovery has been a long time in coming. Michigan lost jobs every year between 2000 and 2010. Included in this period was an astounding 47 month streak from April 2006 until February 2010 where Michigan had the highest unemployment rate in the country. Michigan’s relative ranking has since been improving, and Michigan now has the 15th highest unemployment rate in the U.S. The difference between Michigan’s current unemployment rate of 8.5 percent and the national rate of 8.2 percent is no longer considered statistically significant by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Michigan’s unemployment rate peaked in August of 2009 at 14.2 percent. Since that time, Michigan’s rate has fallen by 5.7 percentage points. The U.S. rate peaked at 10.0 percent in October of 2009. Since that time, the U.S. rate has fallen by just 1.8 percentage points to 8.2 percent. Michigan’s year-over-year unemployment rate drop of 2.0 percentage points is tied with Alabama for the largest drop in the country.
While Michigan’s economy would certainly benefit from a more robust national economic recovery, it is nice to experience economic growth that is strong compared to the rest of the nation after so many years of trailing behind.