During the third quarter of 2018 (Q3 2018), the region’s unemployment rate rose to 4.3 percent, up from 4 percent in Q2 2018. However, both the number of job postings and the size of the labor force were on an upward trend over the quarter. These findings and additional labor market information is provided in the newly released Workforce Intelligence Network for Southeast Michigan (WIN) Q3 2018 labor market report for a 16-county region in Southeast Michigan.

Employer Demand Is Growing, But So Are Hiring Challenges

The number of job postings increased 1.5 percent to 326,000 postings between the second and third quarters of 2018 with the labor force experiencing a slight increase of 2,743 individuals, or 0.1 percent, during the same time frame. However, when comparing Q3 2018 job postings to Q3 2017 postings, the year-to-year employer demand was down 1.5 percent with 4,823 less postings this year.

“Employer demand and the size of the labor force have been on the rise since the beginning of 2018,” said Michelle Wein, senior research manager at WIN. “However, the growth in employer demand has far exceeded that of the labor force in each quarter, meaning employers are likely experiencing hiring challenges.”

Soft Skills Remain In-Demand

Though in-demand technical skills, desired education and experience, and salary ranges varied among the eleven occupation groups analyzed for the region, nearly every occupation group indicated “communications” and “writing” were among the top in-demand employability skills. Approximately a quarter of the job postings requiring a minimum education level specified the need for a bachelor’s degree and 20 percent were seeking applicants with a high school diploma or higher.

“Efforts to train new and incumbent workers with in-demand skill sets and educate job seekers about in-demand opportunities remain top priorities in the region,” said WIN Executive Director Michele Economou Ureste. “It is a primary objective of WIN’s college and workforce agency partners to ensure the workforce receives training and education for in-demand job skills, including soft skills.”

Many In-Demand Opportunities at Every Education Level

Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Driving represent the most in-demand job in Southeast Michigan, overtaking Registered Nursing. Overall, the region’s top in-demand jobs included:

  • Heavy and Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers: 32,262 job postings
  • Registered Nurses: 9,742 job postings
  • First-Line Supervisors of Retail Sales Workers: 9,494 job postings
  • Retail Salespersons: 9,134 job postings
  • Light Truck or Delivery Service Drivers: 6,880 job postings


A closer examination of the region’s highest demand occupational groups found the following top job titles in greatest demand, by industry:

Advanced Manufacturing (Skilled Trades and Technicians):

  • Maintenance and Repair Workers, General – 4,033 postings
  • First-Line Supervisors of Production and Operating Workers – 2,953 postings
  • Machinists – 957 postings



  • Non-farm Animal Care Takers – 1,598 postings
  • Wholesale and Manufacturing, Technical and Scientific Products – 1,105 postings
  • Buyers and Purchasing Agents – 1,077 postings



  • Electricians – 708 postings
  • Construction Managers – 618 postings
  • First-Line Supervisors of Construction Trades and Extraction Workers – 484 postings



  • Registered Nurses – 9,742 postings
  • Pharmacy Technicians – 1,742 postings
  • Medical and Health Service Managers – 1,739 postings


Information Technology:

  • Software Developers – 6,255 postings
  • Computer Occupations, All Other – 4,423 postings
  • Computer User Support Specialists – 2,758 postings


The Engineering and Design, as well as IT, occupation group offered higher salaries than other occupation groups. These two groups continue to promote the highest median salaries, with most jobs within these groups requiring at least a bachelor’s degree in a related field.

Michigan is hiring. But there is still work to be done in training and upskilling the workforce of today and tomorrow.

The full Q3 2018 labor market report for the 16-county region analyzed by WIN, as well as WIN’s other latest data, research projects and reports, are available at www.winintelligence.org/data-research/quarterly-reports.

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