Profile: Workforce Trends

Figure 1: Unemployment Rate, 2012-2022

Unemployment Rate Detroit Region 2022

From 2012 to 2022, the unemployment rate in the Detroit region has generally followed the national trend. From 2012 to 2014, the Detroit region experienced a slightly higher unemployment rate during economic recovery from the Great Recession. The Detroit region also experienced a higher rate of unemployment than the US as a whole in 2020 during the COVID pandemic. This has since dissipated and the Detroit region is, again, nearly equal to the national trend.

In 2019, the rate of unemployment fell to 4.2%, a level not seen since the early 2000s. The Detroit region’s unemployment rate peaked at 11% in 2020, higher than the US unemployment rate of 8.1%. This spike was due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The following year, unemployment rates stabilized, and fell further to 4% in the Detroit region and 3.7% in the US in 2022.

Figure 2: Total Enrollment, 2012-2022

College Enrollment Detroit Region 2022

Universities in the Detroit region saw declining enrollment figures over the past decade. In 2012, 419,500 students were enrolled in post-secondary across the region. By 2022, this figure fell to 314,800 students. From 2016 to 2021, enrollment in the Detroit region has fallen more rapidly than national benchmarks. Enrollment fell at a slower pace in 2022 compared to the US as a whole, shrinking by 0.9% in the Detroit region and 1.9% in the US.

Figure 3: Graduates Per Year, 2012-2022

College Graduates Detroit Region 2022

The number of post-secondary graduates rose during the years following the Great Recession, peaking in 2017 at 69,900 graduates. This likely occurred because people were seeking an alternative to competing in a poor job market. Since 2017, the number of graduates has steadily decreased. In 2022, just 60,100 students graduated from Detroit region colleges and universities. With the exception of 2020, graduation growth rates have also been lower for the Detroit region compared to the national average.