Michigan Labor Market Information


Yes. To be counted as unemployed in the official statistics, a person must meet the following three conditions.

  1. They must have no earnings due to employment for the survey week.
  2. They must have taken active steps to find a job in the prior four weeks.
  3. They must be currently available to accept a job if offered.

Since "discouraged workers" have stopped seeking work, they are not counted as unemployed.

However, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does publish six alternative "labor underutilization rates" for states every quarter, and each rate includes different types of workers. The official unemployment rate is one of these measures and is referred to as the U-3 rate, or the "headline" rate. The U-3 is equal to the number of unemployed workers divided by those in the "labor force," (those who are employed and currently looking for work). If a worker is "discouraged" and stops looking for work, they are not included in this headline unemployment rate.

However, the five other labor underutilization rates have different definitions of the labor force, and three of these rates include discouraged workers.

Data users have access to multiple measures of "labor utilization" according to their needs. Learn more on the BLS website.

Industry employment and wage data are collected through the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) program. The primary source for the QCEW are quarterly reports submitted by employers subject to or covered under the state’s Unemployment Insurance (UI) laws to the Michigan Unemployment Insurance program. Employment data represents the number of workers who worked or received pay during the pay period including the 12th day of the month. Total wages include gross wages and salaries, bonuses, profit sharing, commissions, severance pay, and limited tips. Total wages are reported in the quarter they were paid (not when they were earned). Learn more about QCEW data on the BLS website.

The Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) survey produces employment and wage estimates annually for nearly 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the U.S., individual states, and metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. Official occupational estimates for specific industries are available for the U.S., while state occupation estimates for industries are published as research estimates. OEWS estimates are constructed from a sample of about 1.2 million establishments. Forms are mailed to approximately 200,000 establishments in May and November of each year for a three-year period. OEWS data are not to be compared year to year. They are created to be a snapshot in time and not a time series. Changes in classification systems, the way data is collected in the survey reference period, and changes in mean wage estimation methodology, as well as permanent features of the methodology, make it less useful for time comparisons. Learn more about OEWS data on the BLS website.

Seasonal adjustment is a statistical technique that attempts to measure and remove the influences of predictable seasonal patterns to reveal how employment and unemployment change from month to month.

Over the course of a year, the size of the labor force, the levels of employment and unemployment, and other measures of labor market activity undergo fluctuations due to seasonal events, including changes in weather, harvests, major holidays, and school schedules. Because these seasonal events follow a more-or-less regular pattern each year, their influence on statistical trends can be eliminated by seasonally adjusting the statistics from month to month. These seasonal adjustments make it easier to observe the cyclical, underlying trend and other nonseasonal movements in the series.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a measure of the average change in the prices paid by urban consumers for a fixed basket of goods and services. Through the Consumer Expenditure Survey, the U.S. Department of Labor surveys consumers to find out what consumers buy and what share of consumer incomes are spent on each item. This survey is used to create a basket of goods purchased by the average consumer. The price of the basket of goods becomes the base period cost. The U.S. Department of Labor then surveys stores to determine the price and quantity of goods sold to consumers. The monthly CPI indicates the increase in the price of the basket of goods since the base period. The price is indexed to make it easier to understand by setting the price in the base period equal to 100. Any price increases are represented as a percentage increase since the base period. A 3 percent price increase since the base period would result in an index of 103.

There are different types of CPIs published, which are each designed to capture different groups of consumers and changes in their buying habits. The most used index is the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, or the CPI-U. The CPI-U represents about 87 percent of the total U.S. population, but excludes consumers in rural areas, in the armed forces, and those living in institutions (such as prisons or mental institutions). The CPI-U can be broken down into the Energy Index, the Food Index, and the All Items Less Food and Energy Index (also referred to as core inflation). Each of these categories can be disaggregated further to more specific products. Learn more about CPI data on the BLS website.

The Current Employment Statistics (CES) program produces detailed industry estimates of nonfarm employment, hours, and earnings of workers on nonfarm payrolls (including employees on paid sick leave, paid holiday, or paid vacation) who work or receive payment for any part of the week that includes the 12th of the month. It is a count of jobs by place of work, not people. Individuals could be counted multiple times if they hold more than one job. Self-employed, unpaid volunteer or family workers, domestic workers in households, military personnel, and persons who are laid off, on leave without pay, or even on strike for the entire reference period are not included in the data. Learn more about CES data on the BLS website.

Series codes are used in CES data to identify industries. They are comprised of the industry's supersector code followed by the industry's NAICS code. Learn more about CES series codes on the BLS website.

The Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program provides a monthly estimate of an area's labor force, employment, unemployment, and unemployment rate. Data are taken from surveys and unemployment claims recorded during the monthly reference week, which is usually the week including the 12th day of each month. Statistics are an estimate of individuals by place of residence, not jobs or where a person works. To be considered unemployed, an individual must have had no employment during the reference week, been available for work, and have tried to find employment for four weeks leading up to the reference week. Learn more about LAUS data on the BLS website.

Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) are official urban regions designated by the federal government and used by statistical agencies. A metropolitan area has an urban core with a population of at least 50,000 people, while a micropolitan area has a population between 10,000 and 50,000 people. MSAs refer to the core urban area, plus "outlying counties" that meet specified requirements of commuting to or from the central counties. Learn more about MSAs on the Census Bureau website.

You can view the definitions for regional geographies such as Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), Prosperity Regions, LAUS regions, and more on the geography definitions page.

The ACS is an ongoing survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau. It provides vital social, economic, housing, and demographic information yearly for various levels of geography across the nation.

Every month, the survey is sent to a sample of addresses in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. The sampled survey responses are used to create period estimates, which means the estimates represent the characteristics of the population and housing over a specific data collection period.

The one-year and five-year period estimates are summarized below:

One-Year Period Estimates

  • 12 months of collected data
  • Data are tabulated for areas with populations 65,000+
  • 2005 ACS one-year estimates were first released in 2006

Five-Year Period Estimates

  • 60 months of collected data
  • Data are tabulated for all areas (i.e., down to the block group level)
  • 2005 to 2009 ACS five-year estimates were first released in 2010

When to use one-year or five-year estimates

Download the data with the data.census.gov tool.

Learn more about the ACS on the Census Bureau website.

The U.S. Census Bureau publishes the following three types of population datasets: decennial census data, postcensal estimates, and intercensal estimates.

  1. The decennial census—which has been held in the U.S. every 10 years since 1790—consists of a comprehensive enumeration of the total population.

  2. Postcensal population estimates are produced in the years following a decennial census, and before the next decennial census has been taken. Each year, the Census Bureau’s Population Estimates program uses administrative data on births, deaths, and migration to calculate the population change since the decennial census and produce a time series of population, demographic components of change, and housing units. Each annual time series is referred to as a “vintage” and the last year in the series is used to name the series. The annual time series of estimates begins with the most recent decennial census data and extends to the vintage year. For example, the vintage 2022 postcensal series will have estimates for July 1, 2020, July 1, 2021, and July 1, 2022.

  3. Intercensal population estimates are produced in the years between two decennial censuses but are produced once the census at the end of the decade has been completed. Intercensal estimates replace postcensal estimates, which are produced before the completion of the census at the end of the decade. Intercensal estimates are more accurate than postcensal estimates because they are based on both censuses, which essentially serve as bookends marking the beginning and the end of a decade. They are derived by adjusting the final postcensal estimates for the decade to correct for the error of closure (the difference between the estimated population at the end of the decade and the census count for that date). Rates that were calculated using the postcensal population estimates are routinely revised when the intercensal estimates become available.

Learn more on the Census Bureau website.

The U.S. Census Bureau defines “rural” as the entire area left over after “urban” areas are accounted for. Every 10 years, the Census Bureau reviews the criteria for urban areas after each decennial census and revises the criteria, as necessary, to improve the classification. After the 2020 Census, the Census Bureau officially doubled the minimum population needed to qualify as an urban area from 2,500 (2010 Census criteria) to 5,000 people. An area is now defined as urban if it has a population of 5,000 or more people, or if it encompasses 2,000 or more housing units. The Census Bureau will publish the 2020 urban shapefiles for each state on December 30, 2022. These shapefiles and corresponding reference maps will indicate which places, classified as urban in 2010, are no longer urban under the 2020 classification.

Learn more on the Census Bureau website.