New state-by-state unemployment figures released today showed that Michigan remains the state with the highest unemployment rate for the 45th consecutive month. But overall, its rate decreased along with 35 other states.

Interestingly enough, the number of payroll jobs in Michigan fell even though the number for household employment (a factor in the unemployment rate calculations) increased. These numbers generally move pretty closely together, but there are a lot more jobs in the household survey than the establishment survey. Conceptually, the establishment survey doesn't cover self-employment, so that could be a reason. The second could be that people are ditching their second job, which would cover a loss in the establishment survey but not the household survey. (More information on the differences between the surveys is here.)

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Since the establishment survey said 14,000 jobs were lost and the household said 16,000 gained, both less than a 0.5 percent change, it's fair to say that the job situation went sideways for the month. That's an improvement from the awful conditions of this year, but nothing worth celebrating.

Louisiana and Nebraska led the unemployment rate decreases, followed by Connecticut, Kentucky and Kansas. Right-to-work states continued their advantage over nonRTW states. The Mackinac Center's Right-to-Work Dashboard has been updated accordingly.


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