©2016 Michigan Economic Development Corporation


Wednesday, August 19, 1998

Jim Tobin
(517) 335-4590

Labor Dispute Impacts State Rate Michigan's jobless rate increased in July by six-tenths of a percentage point to 4.2 percent, Doug Rothwell, CEO and department director of the Michigan Jobs Commission, announced today. "The increase in the unemployment rate can be attributed to the labor management dispute at General Motors," Rothwell said. "The strike resulted in the shutdown of most GM plants and caused significant layoffs among automobile part suppliers." Employment in July fell by 41,000 and unemployment rose by 28,000 as the state labor force dropped by 12,000. "However, if you remove the temporary job losses caused by the labor management dispute, employment levels were relatively unchanged in the month of July," Rothwell said. Workforce growth and employment have been strong over the year, Rothwell noted, with the labor force up by 34,000 and employment up by 37,000 over July 1997 figures. Michigan Remains Below National Average Even with the increase in the July figures, Michigan's unemployment rate was still belowthe national rate of 4.5 percent. "The fact that Michigan's unemployment rate remained below the national rate despite the General Motors strike shows the strength and diversification of our economy," Rothwell said. He also pointed out that this is the 40th consecutive month Michigan's rate has been below the national average, and the 53rd month since January 1994 that Michigan's rate has been at or below the U.S. rate. Industry Jobs Decrease in July According to the monthly survey of employers, seasonally adjusted industry employment decreased by 61,000 in July to total 4,481,000. Manufacturing employment declined by 60,000 with the majority of the losses attributed to the GM labor dispute. Other job losses occurred in government (-3,000), transportation, communication and utilities (-1,000) and retail trade and mining (-500). However, industry job growth has increased over the year with wage and salary employment expanding by 34,000 since July 1997. Production Hours & Earnings Fall The decline in average earnings and hours worked in manufacturing in July is attributed to the labor management dispute at General Motors. Average weekly earnings for production workers in manufacturing fell, dropping $32.10 to $707.60.

Labor Force Estimates
Seasonally Adjusted
(Data in Thousands)
Civilian LaborForce5,0215,0334,987- 12+34
Employment4,8114,8524,774- 41+37
Unemployment209181213+28- 4
*Preliminarydata for July** Final estimates forJune
Wage & Salary Employment
Seasonally Adjusted
(Data in Thousands)
Wage &Salary Employ.4,4814,5414,447-61+34
Goods ProducingIndus.1,1101,1701,152-60- 42
Construction& Mining1971971880+ 9
Construction1891891810+ 8
Manufacturing913973964-60- 51
Durable Goods673728722-55- 50
Motor Vehicle& Equip.232276275-44- 43
NondurableGoods240245242- 4- 1
ServiceProducing Indus.3,3713,3723,295- 1+76
Trans., Comm.& Utilities175176174- 1+ 1
Wholesale Trade2322322270+ 5
Retail Trade8308308220+ 8
Finance, Ins.,Real Estate2082082061+ 3
Services1,2631,2611,220+ 2+42
Government663665646- 3+16
*Preliminarydata for July**Final estimates forJune
Hours & Earningsfor Production Workers
Seasonally Adjusted
Average weeklyearnings$707.60$739.70$747.19-$32.10-$39.59
Average weeklyhours42.842.844.30.0-1.5
Motor VehicleIndustry
Average weeklyearnings$932.80$982.76$1,000.40-$49.96-$67.60
Average weeklyhours41.941.546.60.4-4.7