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Michigan Posts Lowest Unemployment Since 2001

March 31, 2015

Michigan posted a 14-year-low unemployment rate of 5.9 percent for February, news the Governor’s office trumpeted simultaneously with the official Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget (DTMB) news release.

The rate was .4 percentage points below January’s 6.3 percent unemployment rate and reflects an 18,000-person drop in those unemployed and a 13,000-person increase in those employed. The February rate also inched closer to the national average, which shrank .2 percentage points to 5.5 percent.

The unemployment drop marks a growth in payroll jobs that Jason PALMER, director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives, said they have seen since last October.

Speaking of October, it’s been since October 2001 — 15 months before the end of former Gov. John ENGLER‘s final term — that Michigan’s unemployment rate was below 6 percent, something Gov. Rick SNYDER made sure didn’t miss anyone’s attention.

“We should be proud that our hard work in reinventing Michigan is showing results, with companies tapping our talent and legendary work ethic as they create more and better jobs,” Snyder said.

Unemployment numbers since February 2014 fell 88,000, or 23.8 percent, which was greater than the national decline of 16.2 percent from that same time frame.

DTMB also reported that Michigan saw a “minor” labor force reduction in February, the first decline since July 2014. Overall, the state’s workforce level is slightly higher than last year, up 7,000 jobs or .1 percent.

However, total employment in Michigan has increased 2.2 percent since last February, a total employment gain of 96,000 jobs. Nationally, total employment rose 2.1 percent over the same time period.

Snyder heralded that Michigan has created nearly 400,000 private sector jobs since late 2010, the fifth-most private sector jobs in the country, trailing only California, Texas, Florida and New York. More than 100,000 manufacturing jobs came back.

“(W)e can’t just be satisfied with being a leader in the Midwest,” Snyder said. “We’re working to lead the nation in developing the skilled trades, creating an environment for businesses to grow and thrive and building on the entrepreneurial spirit that is known around the globe.” 

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