Detroit resident employed
Detroit unemployment rate

According to Census data, the rate of employed Detroiters increased 4.5% from 2015 to 2016, the largest increase among comparison cities.

Detroit still has the lowest percentage of employed adults among both comparison and other major cities, but the gap is closing. Our goal of employing 40,000 Detroiters was determined by a desire to increase residential employment rates by 10 points, bringing us closer to the residential employment rate of comparison cities.

The number of Detroiters in poverty decreased 4.1 percentage points between 2015 and 2016, the largest decrease in poverty rates among comparison cities.

Increasing residential employment in Detroit is critical to reducing poverty in the City of Detroit. We will not just need to employ residents to decrease poverty, but also assist those currently employed and in poverty toward accessing higher paying wages. While Detroit has the largest number of residents in poverty among comparison cities, we made the largest gains in moving residents out of poverty between 2015 and 2016. 

As seen in 2016, obtaining postsecondary education correlates to improved employment outcomes for Detroiters.


Educational attainment correlates to improved employment for Detroiters as well as attachment to the labor force. Providing educational and training opportunities for these Detroiters beyond GED obtainment is critical to improving their employment outcomes and thereby increasing their financial sustainability. The programs and initiatives created by the Mayor’s Workforce Development Board are helping to move the needle on educational attainment for Detroiters.