Unemployment Rate Improves Nationally While Michigan Struggles

By: Kim Russell
By: Kim Russell

The Labor Department released its latest unemployment numbers Friday, and it's good news. The national unemployment rate dropped to a five-year low of 4.4 percent last month after the creation of 92,000 jobs. Meanwhile, Michigan continues to struggle.

The state's numbers for October aren't yet out, but September saw about 7.1 percent unemployment. It is one of the worst rates in the nation. Experts say you can blame the auto industry. Sr. Vice President for Technology and Public Policy at Public Sector Consultants Jeff Williams says, "If you remove auto manufacturing, there are good sectors of the economy. They're growing, but they're not growing enough to offset our primary employment."

Michigan's unemployment rate is at the heart of next week's election, but isn't necessarily helping or hurting either candidate. Speak to people looking for work, and you'll find the economy is definitely affecting how they vote, but that doesn't mean they're voting for the same candidate. Debra Bateman and Sharon Siell from the Lansing area both went to the Capital Area Michigan Works, looking for new opportunities. They both say the economy has problems. However they disagree on whether Dick DeVos or Governor Jennifer Granholm will get the job done.

Williams says it is no surprise. DeVos is asking why the job situation is so bad in his campaign. Granholm is saying it is bad, but we have a plan that will fix it in her campaign. Meanwhile, no matter who is elected, Williams says it will take time before change is seen, "Michigan is going to be going through some restructuring, it is going to take five, maybe ten years before the state gets through the effects of the changes in the auto industry."

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