Michigan Unemployment Rises to '07 Record

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Michigan's unemployment rate rose to 7.2 percent in June, the highest point so far this year, the state announced Wednesday.

The May seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 6.9 percent already was highest among the 50 states.

June's even-higher rate means many new college graduates and students seeking summer work in Michigan probably have been disappointed, a state official said in a statement.

"Early indications are showing a more sluggish season for youth hiring," said Rick Waclawek, director of the state's Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives.

The national jobless rate for June was 4.5 percent.

Michigan's latest rate of 7.2 percent was half a percentage point higher than June 2006, when the rate was 6.7 percent. Although the state added 4,000 manufacturing jobs from May to June, continued cuts in manufacturing are a major factor pushing the jobless rate up, Waclawek said.

General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and the now-independent Chrysler have cut tens of thousands of jobs in recent years through buyouts and other actions in a bid to better compete with their Asian rivals.

The state's unemployment rate has hovered around 7.0 percent for the past four years, according to the state Department of Labor and Economic Growth.

A monthly survey of employers showed seasonally adjusted payroll jobs increased in June by 5,000 to 4.3 million, marking the first monthly increase in statewide payroll jobs since March. Although the state lost 8,000 payroll jobs in the first half of 2007, that's fewer than the 23,000 lost in the first half of 2006.

Government gained 6,000 jobs from May to June because of seasonal shifts in state and local education positions, along with more manufacturing jobs.

But the state lost 3,000 construction jobs from May to June as the housing market continued to be soft. Twelve thousand construction jobs have been lost since March.

Jobs in professional and business services hit their highest recent total in December 2006, but have dropped 10,000 since then.

Total employment in Michigan declined by 52,000 -- or 1.1 percent -- from June 2006 to June 2007, to 4.68 million, while the number of payroll jobs dropped by 54,000, or 1.3 percent. Nationally, total employment rose 1.2 percent during that time.

Production workers in manufacturing worked fewer hours and made less in June than they did in May or in June 2006, state officials reported.


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