Michigan Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives

Note for October 2021 Michigan Press Release

The U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is responsible for examining the inputs to the statistical model that produces the Michigan monthly employment and unemployment estimates. Due to the impact of the pandemic on employment, BLS implemented a revised method of examining models for outliers on a monthly basis, as opposed to their usual practice of designating outliers annually. This involved implementing level shifts monthly in response to outliers in the Current Population Survey data, where appropriate. These level shifts are designed to preserve movements in the published estimates that the models otherwise would have discounted.

BLS implemented a level shift due to an outlier identified in the Current Population Survey input to the Detroit-Warren-Dearborn metro area unemployment model in January 2021. This adjustment produced some distortions in the benchmarking factors used for Michigan, the Detroit metro area, and the Balance of Michigan. To reduce these distortions, BLS has modified this outlier intervention with the publication of September revised and October preliminary estimates. This modification resulted in estimates that better reflect the model inputs for these most recent two months, and produced a revised September seasonally adjusted Michigan unemployment rate of 6.3 percent. Data corrections for January through August 2021 will be addressed during the usual annual revision process at the end of 2021, and these revised estimates will be published in March 2022.

The revised estimates for September 2021 and the newly published October 2021 data can be fully compared with data for all months of 2020 and prior years. However, the data for September and October 2021 should not be compared with previously released estimates for January-August 2021 until all months of 2021 are revised in March 2022.