Yes, the employment trend in Michigan is headed in the right direction. But April's jobs report, released on Wednesday, wasn't nearly as upbeat as some of the media headlines suggested.
In fact, had the national labor market mirrored Michigan's performance in April, it would have been widely viewed as a disaster.
The jobless rate fell to 8.4 percent from 8.5 percent in March. There were 19,000 more people were working in April than in March, according to the government's household survey. And the labor force grew by 2,000, the first year-over-year increase since 2006.
But wage and salary jobs, based on a survey of businesses, tell a different story. Those are the job numbers you see released for the U.S. economy at the start of each month and the ones economists generally rely on to gauge the health of the job market.
Michigan lost 4,000 payroll jobs in April after losing 3,000 jobs in March. Those numbers were downplayed in many media reports, if they were mentioned at all.
The U.S. economy added 165,000 payroll jobs in April and 138,000 jobs in March.
Still, the job trend line is heading up in the state. But the monthly ride has been bumpy, reflecting the sluggishness of the recovery. Michigan has added a net 32,000 payroll jobs over the past 13 months, but has lost jobs in seven of them. (Jobs in April 2012 were down from March 2012, not shown in chart below.)
Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget
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