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Mich. jobless rate drops because fewer people looking for work

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American Panel
Michigan, Indiana and Ohio lost 57,000 assembly jobs during the recent recession. A job search site hosted by Indiana University includes a personality test to help workers determine other types of work for which they may be suited.

Michigan’s monthly job rate has dropped slightly, to 4.6%. But it’s not because more people are working. The one-tenth of a percentage point is because of a shrinking number of people competing for jobs.

The shift in the jobless rate is slight. But it is the second month in a row that the unemployment rate has dropped because the workforce got smaller.

“Michigan’s slight jobless rate decline in June was primarily due to a reduction in the number of persons active in the state’s workforce,” said Jason Palmer, director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives.  

But the news is better over the past 12 months. The number of unemployed dropped by 30,000, mostly from people finding jobs in financial services, professional services, and restaurants, resorts, and other hospitality businesses.

The situation is different in manufacturing, where hours and earnings increased last month, but declined over the year.

When the number of people who’ve quit looking for work, and part-timers who’d like to be full-time are counted, the state’s rate of unemployment and under-employment is 10.8%.

Overall, Governor Rick Snyder says the trend is positive, and shows Michigan is on the right track. His office released this statement:

“Today’s drop in the unemployment rate marks another milestone on Michigan’s comeback path. At 4.6%, our unemployment rate has now fallen by more than 10 percent since its peak in 2009.  We continue to move in the right direction, but we recognize there is more to do to ensure Michigan’s comeback lasts.

“We have 900 days left of this administration, and I promise to keep working hard to find long-term solutions to Michigan’s most demanding challenges. By focusing on creating more and better jobs, developing high-skilled talent, improving our education system, and addressing our most significant issues, our state can be an even better place for every Michigander to call home.”

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.
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