Monthly and quarterly economic indicators (Sept. Reports)

•Unemployment rate increases, while the number of unemployed declines (monthly)
•Vacancies rates increase for Detroit (quarterly)
•Purchasing manager’s index declines (monthly)
•Bankruptcies decline (quarterly)

The following post provides data on economic indicators specifically related to Detroit and Southeastern Michigan. While certain indicators will be updated monthly, such employment numbers, others are only produced quarterly, biannually, annually. This post mainly focuses on the indicators that can be updated monthly or quarterly. Be advised, this is a work in progress.

The above chart shows the jobless rate for both the state of Michigan and the city of Detroit. The jobless rate in Detroit  is consistently higher than that across the state, although both follow similar trends. Also, there has been a more dramatic increase in the jobless rate in Detroit since April than that at the state level. According to the most recent data, the jobless rate was at 21.1 percent in Detroit in July; it was at 10.3 percent for the state.

A more historical look at the unemployment rate for the state of Michigan and city of Detroit can be found in a previous Drawing Detroit post here.

The employment numbers throughout the year have been somewhat inconsistent in for the city of Detroit. While there was an increase from January to April, the number of employed decreased by about 4,000 from March to April. From April to July employment numbers again began to increase. Then,  number of employed dropped to about 277,100 from about 279,000 the previous month.

A more historical look at the number of employed in the city of Detroit can be found in a previous Drawing Detroit post here.


When strictly examining the number of residential vacancies the data indicates these are increasing, just more gradually than in the past. From September 2011 to June 2012 the percent of residential vacancies have increased by .5 percent or less, per quarter.

The total percent of vacancies (residential and business combined) in Detroit  has gradually been increasing since 2005, the rate of increase is slowing. The June 2012 vacancy rate of 21.69 percent is higher than the March 2012 level of 21.19 percent. The vacancy rate in December 2005, which is the earliest data this chart shows, was at 10.08 percent.

The Purchasing Manger’s Index is a composite index that is derived from five indicators of economic activity: new orders, production, employment, supplier deliveries, and inventories.  A PMI reading above 50 percent indicates the economy is generally expanding; levels below percent show signs of decline.  A consistent PMI percent of 42.7 percent typically means the overall economy, or Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is generally expanding; if the percent is consistently below 42.7 this means the economy is typically declining.

The above graph compares the Southeast Michigan’s PMI in 2011 and 2012 (note: not all 2012 number are available). The data, provided by Institute for Supply Management  and the Wayne State University School of Business  shows that in 2011 the PMI never dropped below 47.6. However, from May to August of 2012 the PMI has been continually decreasing, with the most recent percentage being recorded at 45.7. The PMI showed a decreasing trend from May to July of 2011, with the lowest percentage during that time being recorded as 51.7

Also, a comparison of January to August in 2011 and 2012 shows that while the PMI was higher in January of 2012 than in January 2011, it has consistently remained lower since then, with the exception of the month of July.

Both business and personal bankruptcies filed in the Detroit Metropolitan Statistical area (Detroit-Livonia-Warren) have been declining over the last year. In both cases, the declines are very substantial.

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