Detroit’s April Unemployment Rate Hits 33-Year Low at 4.2 Percent

The unemployment rate in Detroit has plunged to its lowest level in recorded history according to the latest numbers released this morning by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Mayor Mike Duggan announced today.  According to the Bureau, Detroit’s unemployment rate for April was 4.2%, down from the 5.8% rate for March reported last month.

It’s not known how long before 1990 – when the Department of Labor first began tracking monthly unemployment numbers – that Detroit’s rate was this low.  Until today, the previous recorded low was 5.4% in April 2000.

Duggan says the thousands of new jobs coming to Detroit and the city’s efforts to help Detroiters fill many of them have fueled the dramatic drop in joblessness.

“We have not seen this level of opportunity in our city since the late 1940s or early 1950s where anyone who wanted to work could find a job,” said Duggan. “These new numbers show that when opportunity is available, Detroiters go to work.”

Duggan pointed to major employers coming to Detroit in recent years, including the new Stellantis assembly plant, GM Factory Zero, Ford’s Michigan Central and Amazon, which together are directly or indirectly responsible for the creation of more than 13,000 new permanent jobs in the city, in addition to thousands more temporary construction jobs. Later this year, the District Detroit will start construction on the first piece of its $1.5 billion 10-building development creating nearly 12,000 new construction jobs and 6,000 permanent jobs. The new $300 million UM Center for Innovation and new employment center at the former AMC Headquarters are also expected to break ground this year.

Even though Duggan found the number encouraging, he still wants to get the city’s unemployment rate closer to the national one of 3.4 percent.

“The challenge in Detroit is no longer attracting good-paying jobs,” said Nicole Sherard Freeman, the mayor’s Group Executive for Jobs, Economy and Detroit at Work. “Our focus now is making sure Detroiters are prepared for these jobs through our employer partnerships and our training programs at Detroit at Work.”

As of today, there are 7,159 jobs and dozens of free training programs available to Detroiters at, Sherard Freeman said.

Among the free training programs are available through are:

  • Construction/Skilled Trades
  • Manufacturing
  • Health Care
  • Information Technology
  • Transportation

According to the University of Michigan’s Detroit Metro Area Communities Study (DMACS) data from March 2023, one of their key findings is the greatest declines in joblessness were among residents of color and low-income White Detroiters since 2021.

However, the number of Black Detroiters who are unemployed is at 18 percent, according to the report.

Lydia Wileden, PhD, a research associate at DMACS the author of the report, explained to the Michigan Chronicle that the 18 percent doesn’t quite mean that one in five Black residents are without a job.

“It means that 1 in 5 Black residents in the labor force are unemployed. This slight distinction matters in part because it means, when calculating the unemployment rate, the denominator is the number of residents in the labor force and not the total population. Black Detroiters have a lower labor force participation rate than White or Latino Detroiters, so not only are Black residents less likely to be in the labor force, but those who are in the labor force are less likely to be employed.”

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