Employer Demand Growing in Southeast Michigan. More Workers Needed to Fill Available Opportunities.

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 are on an upward trend over the quarter. These latest findings and more are analyzed in the Q3 2018 labor market reports, compiled by the Workforce Intelligence Network for Southeast Michigan (WIN) for a 16-county area in southeast Michigan and other regions.

Employer Demand Is Growing, But So Are Hiring Challenges

Job postings continue to increase—slowly but steadily—while the region’s labor market remains relatively stable. This is because job postings grew by 1.5 percent, to 326,000 postings, in between the second and third quarters of 2018, the labor force experienced only a slight increase of 2,743 individuals, or 0.1 percent during the same time frame. However, when looking at Q3 2018 postings in comparison to Q3 2017 postings, 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 some hiring challenges.”

Soft Skills Remain Important

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,” “writing,” or both among the top in-demand employability skills. Also, about a quarter of the postings requiring a minimum education level indicated a need for a bachelor’s degree. Another 20 percent of these postings were looking for applicants with a high school diploma or higher.

“Efforts to train workers with in-demand skill sets and educate job seekers about in-demand opportunities remain a top priority in the region,” said Wein. “To ensure that job seekers are equipped with the necessary skills, especially soft skills, it is important that we continue to connect employers with training and education partners to offer these opportunities.”

Opportunities at Every Education Level

Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers are the most in-demand job in southeast Michigan, overtaking registered nurses. 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


The engineering & design and IT occupation groups offered higher salaries than other occupation groups. These two groups continue to promote the highest median salaries, though most jobs within these groups require at least a bachelor’s degree in a related field.

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

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