Labor Force Participation Declines Throughout Much of Southeastern Michigan

Of the 212 communities in Southeastern Michigan for which labor force data was available from the American Community Survey, 119 experienced a decrease in the percentage of 16-64 year olds in the labor force between 2010 and 2015. Alternately examining the 16 years of age and up population, 135 of the 212 communities experienced a decrease. Port Huron Township in St. Clair County experienced the largest decline in its labor force for both the 16-64 year old population and the 16 and up population. For the 16-64 year old population the decline was 17.1 percent. In 2015, 74.7 percent of the 16-64 year old population in Port Huron Township was part of the labor force, and by 2015 that had declined to 61.9 percent. For the 16 and up population, Port Huron Township had a 19 percent decline in its labor force participation rate between 2010 and 2015, making that the largest decrease in the region. In 2010, 64.6 percent of Port Huron Township’s 16 and up population was in the labor force and by 2015 that declined to 52.4 percent.

While majority of the region experienced declines in the labor force participation rate, some communities experienced substantial increases. For the 16 and up population there were five communities with a percent change increase above 20 percent between 2010 and 2015. The city of Memphis had the largest percent change between 2010 and 2015 at 25.9 percent. In 2010, 61 percent of the population was participating in the labor force, and by 2015 that number increased to 76.8 percent. For the 16-64 year old population there were only three communities where the percent increase in labor force participation rates was above 10 percent. Summerfield Township in Monroe County had the largest percent increase for the 16-64 year old population at 14 percent. In 2010, 71 percent of the 16-64 year olds participated in the work force in Summerfield Township, and by 2015 that increased to 81.2 percent.

Overall, this post shows that majority of Southeastern Michigan has experienced a decline the percentage of individuals participating in the labor force since 2010. For labor force participation, there is a clear tendency for inner ring suburbs of Detroit to show moderate or substantial declines. Exurban townships evidenced some of the highest increases in labor force participation.

Labor Force Participation Lowest in Highland Park

In 2015 the Labor Force participation rate throughout Southeastern Michigan was the lowest in Highland Park (at 58%) for those 16 and above[1] , according to the American Community Survey. For reference, the rate average rate nationally was 62.4% in September 2015. By August 2017, it was 62.9.

As the maps below show, both high and low labor force participation is generally concentrated on the two sides of Eight Mile Road, just across county borders–low in northern Wayne County in the Detroit and Highland Park area, high in southern Oakland County in the Ferndale area.

An individual is considered part of the labor force if they have a job or are actively seeking one. The labor force participation rate is the percentage of adults who are members of the labor force.

[1] 16 and above refers to all ages including those above 64.

 

For those 16 and older the City of Highland Park had the lowest labor force participation rate in the region at 58 percent for those 16 and older and 54 percent for those between the ages of 16-64. In the City of Detroit the labor for participation for those 16 and older was 63 percent; it was 53 percent for those between the ages of 16 and 64. While there was a pocket of Wayne County where the labor force participation rate wasn’t above 55.2 percent for those 16 and older and above 65 percent for those between 16 and 64, the majority of the region had labor force participation rates between 62.2 percent and 71.4 percent for those aged 16 and older and between 72.7 percent and 80.5 percent for those between the ages of 16 and 64. Just as there was a concentration of low labor force participation in Wayne County in and around Detroit, there was a concentration of the highest labor force participation markets in southern Oakland County in the Ferndale/Royal Oak area. In Royal Oak the labor force participation rate was 74.8 percent for those 16 and older and 86.2 percent for those between the ages of 18 and 64. Ferndale had the highest labor force participation rate at for those between ages of 16-64 at 87.9 percent, and for those 16 and older and it was 73.2 percent.

An understanding of the labor force participation rate is important as it is another strong indicator of the economy. Those classified as unemployed may not be active participants of the workforce for a variety of reasons, one of which includes becoming discouraged and stopping seeking employment.

Next week we will look at how the labor force participation rate has changed between 2010 and 2015 and also examine how it correlates to the region’s poverty rates.

Livingston County has Lowest Unemployment Rate in Southeastern Michigan

  • The unemployment rate decreased at the State and local levels(monthly);
  • Regionally, Livingston County’s unemployment rate remains the lowest;
  • The Standard and Poor’s Case-Shiller Home Price Index for the Detroit Metropolitan Statistical Area shows home prices continue to increase monthly and annually while national mortgage rates are lower than those throughout the State and the City of Detroit.

In August of 2017 the unemployment rate for the State of Michigan was 4.6, a slight decrease from the July unemployment rate of 4.9, according to the most recent data provided by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget. The State unemployment rate for August is about on par with what it was reported to be in August of 2016 which was 4.5.

The City of Detroit unemployment rate was reported to be 3 points lower in August of 2017 than what it was reported at in August of 2016. For August of this year the City’s unemployment rate was reported at 9.4; in 2016 it was reported to be 12.4.

The chart above displays the unemployment rates for each of the seven counties in Southeastern Michigan for August of 2016 and 2017. Wayne County had the highest unemployment rates for both 2016 and 2017 (7.4 and 5.5 percent, respectively). In August of 2017, Livingston County had the lowest unemployment rate at 3.2 while Washtenaw County had the lowest rate in 2016 at 3.9 (Washtenaw County’s rate remained at 3.9 in August of 2017 too).

Wayne and Monroe counties were the only two in the region with unemployment rates above 4.6 percent in 2017. In 2016 though, Washtenaw County was the only one in the region that had an unemployment rate below 4.5.

St. Clair County had the largest unemployment rate decrease between June 2016 and 2017 at 2 and Wayne County had a decrease of 1.9.

Above are three average 30-year mortgage interest rates at the national, state and local levels. These rates were provided by bankrate.com, which does a national survey of large lenders on a weekly basis. As a 30-year fixed rate mortgage is the most traditional type of home financing this was chosen to show the rate differences.

It was the national interest rate with the lowest average for the week of September 14, 2017 at 3.8, which was 0.23 points lower than the last time we examined this data. This is the first time in the four months we have examined this data that the national interest rate average was lower than the State of Michigan’s.

Also during the week of September 14, 2017 Detroit’s average 30-year fixed mortgage interest rate was 4, a rate that was higher than both the national and state averages. This was the lowest we have reported it to be since March.

The above charts show the Standard and Poor’s Case-Shiller Home Price Index for the Detroit Metropolitan Statistical Area. The index includes the price for homes that have sold but does not include the price of new home construction, condos, or homes that have been remodeled.

According to the index, the average price of single-family dwellings sold in Metro Detroit was $116,030 in June 2017; this was $1,170 higher than the average family dwelling price in May. Also, the June 2017 price was an increase of $8,130 from June of 2016 and an increase of $13,320 from June of 2015 and an increase of $18,690 from June of 2014.

Community Comparison:Bloomfield Hills, Highland Park

As we’ve been highlighting over the last several weeks in a series of posts focused on median income, poverty levels, housing and educational attainment, it is no longer just the traditionally economically depressed communities that are still feeling the effects of the Great Recession. From the rural communities on the outskirts of the region to the middle-class communities that make up much of Southeastern Michigan, economic recovery has been slow. Of course, some communities continue to fare worse than others throughout the region, and in Southeastern Michigan one community that has suffered a great deal is Highland Park. With a median income of $17,250, an 11 percent increase in the adult poverty level since 2000 and a 36 percent homeownership rate, Highland Park remains one of the most, if not the most, economically depressed community in the state. And, just 20 miles north is the City of Bloomfield Hills, where the median income is nearly 10 times that of Highland Park, the percentage of adults in poverty is about 15 times less, and the homeownership rate is at about 90 percent. The community comparison shown above is simply another visual of the class segregation that exists throughout the region. Despite such a short geographical distance existing between these two communities the socioeconomic differences could not make them seem any farther apart. These vast differences can be, at least in part, attributed to decades of policy decisions that have affected flight from the region’s hub(Detroit and its inner-ring suburbs), homeownership, economic growth, stable education systems, proposed public transportation systems and the lack of effective government responses and collaborations.

 

**All data in the infographic is from the 2015 American Community Survey**

Unemployment Decreases throughout Southeastern Michigan

  • The unemployment rate decreased at the State and local level(monthly);
  • Regionally, Washtenaw County’s unemployment rate remains the lowest;
  • The average 30-year mortgage interest rate in Detroit is higher than the national average, lower than the week the federal interest rate was increased;
  • The Standard and Poor’s Case-Shiller Home Price Index for the Detroit Metropolitan Statistical Area shows home prices continue to increase monthly and annually.

According to the most recent data provided by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget, the unemployment rate for the State of Michigan decreased slightly to 5 percent in March of 2017 from 5.3 percent the previous month. The City of Detroit’s rate also decreased, but at a slightly larger rate. In March 2017, the City of Detroit’s unemployment rate was 10.3 percent, a substantial cut from February’s 12 percent. Additionally, unemployment in the City of Detroit decreased from to 11 percent in March of 2016 to 10.3 percent in 2017.

The chart above displays the unemployment rates for each of the seven counties in Southeastern Michigan for March of 2016 and 2017. St. Clair County had the highest unemployment rate for both 2016 and 2017 (7.1 and 6.2, respectively) while Washtenaw County had the lowest rates (3.1 and 2.8, respectively). St. Clair County and Wayne counties were the only two in the region with unemployment rates at or above 6 in March for both years. St. Clair County also had the largest unemployment rate decrease between March 2016 and 2017 at .9; Monroe County had the lowest at .1.

Four of the seven counties (Livingston, Monroe, Oakland and Washtenaw) all had unemployment rates at or below 5 for March of 2017.

Above are three average 30-year mortgage interest rates at the national, state and local levels for the week of May 15, 2017. These rates were provided by bankrate.com, which does a national survey of large lenders on a weekly basis. As a 30-year fixed rate mortgage is the most traditional type of home financing, this was chosen to show the rate differences. The State of Michigan had the lowest average interest rate for the week of May 15, 2017 at 3.82, which was lower than the last time we examined that data (week of May 20, 2017 the rate was 4.14 percent). Also during the week of May 15, 2017 Detroit’s average 30-year fixed mortgage interest rate was higher than the national average; this was not the case during the week of March 20, 2017. During the week of May 15, 2017 Detroit’s average 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 4.12 and the national average was 4.02.

Compared to two months ago, when the Federal Reserve Raised the federal interest rate by .25 percent, mortgage rates at the local (Detroit), state (Michigan) and national level are lower. While the rates are currently lower, the federal interest rate increase is expected to impact credit products, such as mortgages and auto loans, in addition to savings, home equity lines of credit and credit cards.

The above charts show the Standard and Poor’s Case-Shiller Home Price Index for the Detroit Metropolitan Statistical Area. The index includes the price for homes that have sold but does not include the price of new home construction, condos, or homes that have been remodeled.

According to the index, the average price of single-family dwellings sold in Metro Detroit was $111,790 in February 2017; this was $940 higher than the average family dwelling price in January. Also, the February 2017 price was an increase of $8,440 from February of 2016 and an increase of $14,720 from February of 2015 and an increase of $18,370 from February of 2014.

Monroe County has Highest Medical Marijuana Licenses Per Capita in Southeastern Michigan

In 2016 in Southeastern Michigan there were 98,055 registered medical marijuana patients, a number that has grown by about 45 percent since 2012, according to data provided by the Michigan Bureau of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). LARA is required to provide an annual report on the Michigan Medical Marihuana Program, which includes the annual number of patients by county.

In terms of sheer volume, Wayne County had the highest number of medical marijuana patients in the region at 34,941 in 2016. However, when examining the data per capita per 1,000 residents, Monroe County had the highest number at 26. In Monroe County in 2016 there were 3,889 medical marijuana patients. In 2012 the total number of medical marijuana patients in Monroe County was 2,118; between 2012 and 2016 the total number of patients in Monroe County grew by 55 percent.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Livingston County had the lowest number of medical marijuana patients per 1,000 residents at 18, which was the equivalent to 3,463 total patients. Between 2012 and 2016 the number of medical marijuana patients in Livingston County grew by 54 percent.

Wayne, St. Clair and Oakland counties all had a similar number of medical marijuana patients per 1,000 residents as Livingston County. All three counties had about 20 medical marijuana patients per 1,000 residents in 2016. St. Clair County has experienced the highest percentage of growth since 2012 at 72 percent.

As the data shows, the number of medical marijuana patients in Southeastern Michigan has grown over the last five years, and this isn’t a trend unique to the region. Statewide data proves that throughout Michigan the number of medical marijuana patients has increased. In the graph above, a decline in the number of the medical marijuana patients is shown between 2013 and 2014, however this decline is not necessarily accurate. Rather, it reflects the two-year registry program, so the number reflects only the new patients who were required to apply that year.

While the number of medical marijuana patients in Michigan continues to grow there are efforts to fully legalize marijuana for adults 21 years of age and older. On May 5, the Michigan Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, submitted language that would create a system allowing for the legal cultivation, sale and regulation of the substances. If enough signatures are gathered, the hope of the organization is for the ballot initiative to be on the November 2018 ballot.

Detroit’s Population Density Below Other Major Cities

In Detroit, there is about 677,000 people living in a 139 square mile area; this translates to about 4,900 people per square mile. Comparatively, in New York City the population density is about 28,000 people per square mile, in Washington D.C. it is about 11,000 people per square mile, in L.A. it’s about 8,500/square mile, in Chicago it is about 12,000/square mile and in San Francisco it is about 18,000/square mile. When looking at cities overseas some of those numbers double, if not triple.

Sparefoot.com, a website used to help individuals’ move,  recently created several data visualization images to show how low Detroit’s population density is compared to other large cities. To see this and read the article, click here.

The image below was also provided by them:

 

Highland Park Home to Highest Number of Rental Units in the Region

In 2015 there were nine cities in Southeastern Michigan where more than 50 percent of the housing units were renter occupied. Ypsilanti had the highest percentage of renters at 69 percent, followed by Royal Oak Township at 67 percent. Ann Arbor, Auburn Hills and Detroit, all homes to universities, also had more than 50 percent of its housing units renter occupied. In Detroit, 51 percent of the occupied housing units were renters. Areas with the highest percentage of renters in Detroit were located along the river and in the lower Woodward Corridor. In these areas more than 75 percent of the housing units were occupied by renters. Conversely, areas such as Palmer Park and Rosedale Park had among the lowest percentage of renters, ranging between 2 and 30 percent. There were only 20 Census tracts in Detroit where 30 percent or less of homes were occupied by renters. As seen below, majority of the Census tracts throughout Detroit had between 30 and 60 percent of the occupied housing units occupied by renters.

Percent of Homes Rented_Detroit_Census Tract_JPEG

Percent of Homes Rented_SEMCOG_MDC_JPEG

At the county level, Livingston County had the lowest percentage of renters at 15 percent while Wayne County had the highest percentage at 37 percent. In Livingston County, Cohoctah Township had the lowest percentage of renters at 3 percent and Howell had the highest percentage at 48. In Wayne County, it wasn’t Detroit with the highest rental rate, but rather Highland Park at 64 percent. Grosse Pointe Farms had the lowest rental rate in Wayne County at 2.6 percent.

Regionally, the average percentage of homes rented was 22 percent in 2015; of the 210 communities in the region 112 of them had less than 22 percent of the housing units occupied by renters. Of those 112 communities, 47 of them had rental rates below 10 percent. Novi Township, located in Wayne County, had the lowest percentage of renters at 2 percent, followed by Orchard Lake (2.3%) and Grosse Pointe Farms (2.6%).

While there were less than 10 cities in the region with rental rates above 50 percent, we will highlight next week that there has been a trend toward renting in recent years, particularly in certain areas. In a recent Detroit Free Press article higher rental rates was attributed to the increased number of foreclosures that occurred during the mortgage crisis. A 2015 New York Times article discusses how homeownership rates had been falling for eight years straight at that time, largely due to the burst of the housing bubble.

Percentage of Residents Insured in Southeastern Michigan Increases since 2010

Across Southeastern Michigan all seven counties experienced an increase in the percentage of residents with health insurance between 2010 and 2015. In 2010 then President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law; this is a piece of legislation that was crafted to increase access to and the quality of health insurance. Wayne County experienced the largest increase in overall health insurance coverage at 2.8 percent. In 2015, according the American Community Survey, 87.7 percent of the Wayne County population had health insurance. Wayne County also experienced the largest increase in private health insurance regionally at 17.5 percent. Of those with health insurance coverage in Wayne County in 2015, 83.2 percent had private health insurance coverage. For areas like Wayne County, where the percentage of those on private insurance plans has increased, it is likely due to the larger amount of private insurance options the Affordable Health Care Act offers.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Livingston County experienced the smallest percentage increase in overall health insurance coverage between 2010 and 2015 at 1.4 percent; 93.3 percent of the residents there had coverage in 2015. While Livingston County also had the lowest increase in private health insurance coverage regionally in that time frame, it experienced the largest increase in public health insurance coverage at 28.2 percent.  In 2015, 24.4 percent of those with health insurance coverage in Livingston County had public health insurance coverage; this translates to about 44,800 residents. Majority of those in Livingston County between the ages of 18 and 64 in 2015 with public coverage were not in the labor force (56%); 36 percent of that population was in the labor force and 8 percent was unemployed.

PcntChng_Insured_2010-2015_JPEG

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When examining the child population regionally, there was no increase in the percentage of children uninsured in Livingston County. Washtenaw County experienced the largest decrease at 30.6 percent. In 2015 2.5 percent of Washtenaw County’s child population was uninsured; this was equivalent to about 1,700 children. Wayne County, which hosts the city with the largest percentage of uninsured children regionally (Hamtramck) experienced about a 25 percent decrease in the percentage of uninsured children. In 2015 in Wayne County about 16,700 children, or 4 percent of the County’s child population, was without health insurance.PcntChng_Under18_2010-2015_JPEG

In examining this data we see that since the enactment of the Affordable Care Act thousands of residents throughout Southeastern Michigan have been granted more access to health care. According to a New York Times article, those who benefited the most from the Affordable Care Act were those between the ages of 18-34, those living in rural areas and those who are black and Hispanic. In Wayne County, which had the biggest overall percentage increase in insured residents about 25 percent of the population in 2015 was between the ages of 18-34 and about 40 percent of the population was black and about 6 percent of the population was Hispanic. It was also noted in the article that those with lower incomes tended to benefit more from the Affordable Care Act.

Hamtramck has Highest Percentage of Residents, Children Without Health Insurance in Southeastern Michigan

In Michigan, majority of residents have a form of health care coverage, but the kind of coverage often varies. In Southeastern Michigan, the majority of the region has some type of private health care coverage, but there are several municipalities where majority of the residents depend upon public coverage. According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services there are several publicly funded medical assistance programs offered to residents, depending on their age, income, financial resources and other requirements. Public health insurance programs in Michigan include Medicaid, Healthy Michigan Plan and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.

For this post the percentage of residents covered by health insurance is examined, as is the percentage of residents with private or public insurance plans.

 

Percent with Health Insurance_JPEG

Throughout Southeastern Michigan health care coverage for residents ranges from 78 to 100 percent, with only about 15 municipalities having 96 percent or more of its residents having coverage, according to the American Community Survey conducted by the Census. Of these 15 municipalities, most are located in Oakland and Washtenaw counties. Overall, in Oakland County 92 percent of residents had health insurance coverage in 2015, and in Washtenaw County 94 percent of the population had coverage. In Oakland County Bloomfield Hills and Lake Angelus had the highest percentage of coverage at 99 percent, and in Washtenaw County, Dexter had the highest rate of coverage at 97 percent. At the opposite end Hamtramck had the lowest percentage of residents with coverage—77 percent. Put differently, 23 percent had no coverage. In Detroit about 17 percent of the population had no health insurance coverage in 2015.

Percent Uninsured Under 18_JPEG

Regionally, Livingston and Washtenaw counties had the highest percentages of residents on private health insurance at 83 and 82 percent. In Washtenaw County more than half of the municipalities had above 85 percent of its residents on private health insurance. In Wayne County, 58 percent of the residents had private health insurance and only a handful of communities (Grosse Ile, Northville Township and the Grosse Pointes) had more than 85 percent of its residents on private health insurance. On the opposite side of the spectrum, there were five communities in Wayne County where 50 percent or less of the population had private health insurance.

Percent with Private Health Insurance_JPEG

The map below somewhat mirrors the map above, showing the percentage of residents with public health insurance, as opposed to private. With cities like Detroit, Highland Park and Hamtramck having some of the lowest percentages of private health insurance, it should only make sense that they had among the highest percentages of residents with public health insurance. Highland Park had the highest percentage of residents on public health insurance at 62 percent; Ecorse followed with 60 percent of its residents on public health insurance. Detroit and Hamtramck each had 55 percent of their residents on public health insurance.

Percent with Public Health Insurance_JPEG

Clearly there is a major divide running through Southeastern Michigan on who gets health insurance and where it comes from. Generally higher income communities have more coverage and a higher proportion comes from the private sector. Lower income communities depend heavily on various public sector programs, and many residents still do not have health care coverage. Clearly these lower income citizens and communities would be severely harmed by proposals to cut public health care programs.