Automotive staffing drives down Michigan’s unemployment rate


Monthly figures confirm automotive staffing boost driving down Michigan's unemployment rate
Monthly figures confirm automotive staffing boost driving down Michigan's unemployment rate

While numerous recent projections have suggested that automotive staffing is expected to increase in a major way throughout the country over the next few years, new figures from Michigan's Department of Technology, Management and Budget confirm that this trend is already taking place.

The Grand Rapids Press reports Michigan's seasonally-adjusted unemployment report in December fell by one-half of a percentage point to 9.3 percent, according to the recently released monthly data.

The news source reports that the figure is well below the 11.1 percent from December 2010 and is the lowest since September 2008, when it sat at 8.9 percent. Last month, total employment increased by 13,000 while the number of unemployed state residents dropped by 25,000, partly due to a reduction in the workforce, according to the news provider.

Perhaps most importantly, the latest job figures suggest that recent projections from economists about an expected uptick in automotive staffing may actually come to fruition. The Detroit Free Press reports the state added a net of 67,000 positions last year, the majority of which came from the professional and business services and manufacturing sectors.

This, the news source suggests, indicates the auto industry in Michigan has already begun to pick up the pace. Since 2009, the number of vehicles sold has increased from an annual rate of 10.4 million to 13.5 million, and analysts predict those numbers are poised to improve even more.

IHS Global Insight analysts have predicted that automotive staffing in Michigan will rise to 178,000 by 2015, a substantial improvement over 2010's level of 126,200, the news source reported.

Rick Waclawek, the director of the state's Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives, told the Free Press that overall, the economic picture in Michigan is finally brightening.

"Michigan’s jobless rate fell again in December, as the state added jobs in professional and technical services and manufacturing," said Waclawek. "For 2011 as a whole, the state recorded a significant decline in the unemployment rate and a modest gain in payroll jobs."

The falling unemployment rate in Michigan also puts the state closer to the national average, which dropped to 8.5 percent last month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.