03 October 2013

Employment Up, Wages Down In Early 2013 For Southeast Michigan

Story First Appeared in  Crain's Detroit Business.

All of the five-county region of Southeast Michigan saw employment gains earlier this year, but only Washtenaw County had weekly wage growth to go with it, according to new data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The county that includes Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti had an average weekly wage of $989 for first-quarter 2013, up 0.8 percent from the same quarter in 2012, according to a report on county employment and wages from BLS, an agency of the U.S. Department of Labor, late last week.

Meanwhile, average wages contracted over the same period by 1.3 percent in Wayne County (to $1,053 per week), 0.8 percent in Oakland County (to $1,072 per week) and 0.1 percent in Macomb County (to $974 per week).

Livingston County was not included in the report, which covers employment and wage data for 334 U.S. counties, including the 10 largest in Michigan. Wages climbed 0.6 percent to $989 per week in first quarter 2013 across all those counties, making the Washtenaw wage match the nation as a whole.

A separate data report in the BLS' Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages program shows Livingston's average weekly wage in March 2012 was $753, down 0.3 percent from a year earlier. On that same March-to-March monthly comparison, Washtenaw saw 1.4 percent wage growth, while Wayne was down 1.5 percent, Oakland is off 0.8 percent and Macomb by 0.9 percent.

Every county in the region except Wayne outpaced the nation as a whole in employment growth, however, according to the new report. Macomb led that trend with about 297,200 workers in March 2013, up 3.1 percent from a year earlier.

Oakland followed at 2.7 percent growth to about 668,900 employed, although the county in a separate news release on Monday reports that its total employment was up 3.9 percent, to 666,040 jobs. The county's figures were based on a three-month average employment rate this year, compared with first quarter 2012.

Washtenaw grew 2.3 percent to 196,700 workers, while Wayne County saw 0.9 percent jobs growth, to about 681,600 people according to BLS. Employment as a whole grew 1.6 percent last March to about 132.3 million workers, with jobs growth in 282 of the 334 counties tracked. Wages grew in 242 counties and declined in 93 counties, including four in Southeast Michigan.

Total March employment figures differed for all five counties in data collected separately by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget. But that data also showed employment gains among all five Southeast Michigan counties and a shrinking jobless rate, compared with a year earlier.

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