Economic Indicators

Monthly Economic Indicators

The Chamber’s Data and Research team tracks key statistics highlighting the Detroit region’s economic growth and recovery.

Michigan and US Indicators

Monthly Unemployment Rate

Michigan’s November 2022 monthly unemployment rate increased to 4.3% from 4.2% in October 2022. The national unemployment remained at 3.7% in November, placing Michigan’s unemployment 0.6 percentage points above the national. rate. The Detroit MSA’s unemployment rate decreased 0.1 percentage points to 3.6% in October 2022.

For context, Michigan’s peak unemployment rate during the Great Recession reached 15.4% in July 2009. This measurement is considered a lagging indicator, confirming but not foreshadowing long-term market trends. It’s seen as an indicator of the efficiency and effectiveness of an economy.

U.S. Real Gross Domestic Product

Real gross domestic product (GDP) increased at an annual rate of 2.6 percent in the third quarter of 2022, following a decrease of 0.6% in the second quarter. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), the increase in the third quarter primarily reflected increases in exports and consumer spending that were partly offset by a decrease in housing investment. For more information, read the full BEA report.

The GDP is measured as the total market value of the goods and services produced within a specific geography during a given time period. Gross domestic product is a key indicator of the general health of the economy and its performance, with increases indicative of economic growth.

Payroll Jobs

The Detroit MSA’s monthly payroll jobs  increased by 4,800 to 2,024,800  in November 2022, after a decrease by over 500,000 in April 2020 – the lowest level since prior to 1990. The previous largest monthly job cut since 1990 occurred in 2009, with a seasonally adjusted reduction of 61,400 jobs.

Industry sectors across the region experienced major job losses due to pandemic related shutdowns. In the region, manufacturing decreased to 254,400 employed individuals in October 2022, an 87% increase from the April 2020 low of 135,900. The leisure and hospitality industry has vastly recovered to pre-pandemic employment levels. As of October 2022, the industry employs 178,500 individuals in the region, was 5.2% lower than March 2020 employment levels.

New Business Applications

In Michigan, new business applications have totaled 128,594 year to date. In November 2022, business applications registered at 11,363 a slight increase of 27.9 % compared to November 2021.

New business application growth after a recession is a leading indicator of recovery, and often observed after times of economic hardship. Michigan business applications hit record highs in 2021. Michigan ranked 11th in most business startups among all 50 states in 2021. Michigan business applications totaled 151,270 for 2021, a 59% increase compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019, indicating strong entrepreneurial activity. More than 56,550 additional applications were filed in 2021 compared to 2019

Consumer Sentiment

According to the University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers, consumer sentiment increased to 59.1 in the December 2022 survey, up from 56.8 in November. The Consumer Sentiment Index is a statistical measurement that provides an economic indicator of consumers opinion and optimism of the state of the economy.

According to Surveys of Consumers director, Joanne Hsu, Consumer sentiment rose 4% above November, recovering most of the losses from November but remaining low from a historical perspective. All components of the index lifted, with one-year business conditions surging 14% and long-term business conditions increasing a more modest 6%. Gains in the sentiment index were seen across multiple demographic groups, with particularly large increases for higher-income families and those with larger stock holdings, supported by recent rises in financial markets. Sentiment for Democrats and Independents rose 12% and 7%, respectively, while for Republicans it fell 6%. Throughout the survey, concerns over high prices—which remain high relative to just prior to this current inflationary episode—have eased modestly. Read full report.

U.S. Manufacturing PMI®

Manufacturing PMI® registered at 49.0% in November 2022. November PMI® contracted in November for the first time since May 2020 after 29 consecutive months of growth

The Manufacturing PMI® registered at 49.0% in November, 1.2 percentage points below the reading of 50.2% in October, according to the Institute for Supply Management® (ISM®). According to the Institute, after five months of flat or marginally positive change, the decrease last month took the Manufacturing PMI® into contraction.

ISM® states a reading above 50% shows that the manufacturing economy is generally expanding; below 50% indicates that it is generally contracting. The index is based on a monthly survey of supply chain managers and measures general direction of economic trends in manufacturing and other sectors.

Detroit Metropolitan Airport Total Passengers

Detroit Metropolitan Airport experienced a 5.9% increase in total passengers in the month of October 2022 compared to the same month last year. In October 2022, 2.44 million passengers utilized the airport. Cargo volumes decreased 5.0% year over year for the month of October 2022. Over 34 million pounds cargo were handled by the airport in October 2022.

Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW) is Michigan’s largest airport and one of the world’s leading air transportation hubs with more than 1,100 flights per day to and from four continents. Wayne County Airport Authority drives economic activity in the Detroit region, employing more than 86,000 individuals with an annual economic impact of $10.2 billion.

Automotive Economic Indicators

Annual U.S. Light Vehicle Sales (SAAR)

November’s annual U.S. light vehicle sales decreased to 14.1 million units 

In November 2022, the seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) decreased to approximately 14.1 million light vehicle units, from 15.1 million units in October 2022, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.  The November SAAR is up from last year’s 13.1 million pace but a step backwards from October’s 14.9 million level. After rising to a nine-month high in October, vehicle sales recorded their largest monthly decline since May. However, last month’s pullback wasn’t totally unexpected, as October’s gain was said to be boosted by increased deliveries that were delayed over the summer due to supply-chain issues.

At the beginning of 2020, approximately 16.8 million light vehicle units were anticipated to be sold in the United States for the year.  The ongoing chip shortage is not yet finished, but has eased substantially since its peak. According to Cox Automotive, U.S. light-vehicle sales are expected to reach 15.3 million in 2022, down 700,000 units from the original forecast from January

Monthly U.S. Light Vehicle Sales

Vehicle sales increase 10.5% year over year in November 2022 indicating an improved supply situation. 

Monthly U.S. vehicle sales volume decreased 4.6% to 1.15 million units sold in November 2022. Despite a monthly decreased from October volume, vehicle sales increased 10.5% year over year in November. According to senior economist at Cox Automotive, Charlie Chesbrough, there are clear examples of better inventory resulting in better sales this year. 

In April 2020, light vehicles sales in the United States experienced the lowest total since early 2010, selling 717,578 units. A decline in sales began in March 2020 with 994,707 units sold, but April was the first full month with widespread manufacturing shutdowns following the stay-at-home orders and closure of nonessential businesses. When comparing April 2019 to April 2020, sales decreased by 85% year over year.

U.S. Automotive Production

In October 2022, U.S. auto production decreased to 149,800 units—a 2.7% decrease from the previous month. Production dramatically decreased to 1,700 in April 2020 due to pandemic restrictions. Followed by the global microchip shortage coming out of the pandemic drastically reduced production, leading to low inventories on dealer lots and lower sales volumes, shortages are not yet finished but production has begun to rebound.

Research & Data

Learn about the region’s economics, workforce and talent, industry clusters and more.

For additional information, contact the Data and Research team.

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