A possible red flag has gone up as the monthly jobless numbers for the state of Michigan have been announced and that rate has gone up.

Michigan’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose by a tenth of a percentage point to 4.2 percent in May, according to data released today by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget. Total employment remained unchanged over the month while the number of unemployed moved up by 5,000. - Michigan DTMB

The state’s May unemployment rate was six-tenths of a percentage point above the national rate of 3.6 percent. Since May 2018, the Michigan jobless rate is unchanged. The national jobless rate declined by two-tenths of a percentage point during this period.

The entirety of the report gives mixed signals regarding the Michigan economy. Partisans can take both good and bad from it.

“The uptick in Michigan’s May jobless rate reflected an increase in unemployment and a decrease in payroll jobs,” said Jason Palmer, director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives, “Despite this over-the-month reduction, payroll jobs over the year advanced by 23,000.” - Michigan DTMB

Some of the trends in the report:

  • Since October 2018, Michigan’s monthly unemployment rate has remained within the narrow band of 4.0 to 4.2 percent.
  • Michigan’s workforce increased for the ninth consecutive month in May. The state’s labor force has grown by 59,000, or 1.2 percent, since August 2018.
  • Michigan’s total number of unemployed advanced for the third consecutive month in May. The May 2019 count of 207,000 unemployed was the state’s highest total since April 2018.
  • Over the year, total employment advanced by 46,000 or 1.0 percent, and unemployment rose by 3,000, or 1.5 percent. Nationally, total employment increased by 0.9 percent and unemployment fell by 3.9 percent.
  • Seasonally adjusted Michigan payroll jobs dropped by 6,000 in May to 4,438,000. Notable job declines over the month occurred in Retail trade (-6,000), Manufacturing (-2,000), and Education and health services (-2,000). Professional and business services exhibited the largest numeric job gain in May (+3,000).