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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Michigan Employment Improves

MI employment rate rises, economy continues to improve

Michigan’s economic health continues to improve as the employment outlook brightens for Michigan residents, according to forecasts by University of Michigan economists and the House and Senate Fiscal Agencies.

“Michigan is in its third year of recovery after a debilitating recession,” said U-M economist George Fulton at a state revenue-estimating conference in Lansing on May 16. “We see a sustained but moderately paced recovery from now through 2014.”

High-wage jobs in industries such as auto manufacturing, metalworking, engineering and computer services, and the insurance sector have shown the strongest growth in the job gains Michigan has seen over the last two years, according to Fulton.

Fulton’s announcement was followed by data released from the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget showing that Michigan’s unemployment rate for April was at 8.3 percent, down from 8.5 percent in March and 10.5 percent in April 2011.

Michigan’s April 2012 jobless rate was the lowest for the state since the 8.2 percent rate recorded in July 2008. From April 2011 to April 2012, the number of unemployed in Michigan dropped by 102,000 or nearly 21 percent. Nationally, unemployment declined by 9 percent since April 2011.

Job growth in three major sectors – manufacturing, professional and business services, and education and health services – accounted for the majority of the state’s gains. 

The summer jobs outlook for teens is brighter too. About 211,500 Michigan teens ages 16 to 19 are expected to find work this summer, up 6,700 from summer 2011, according to DTMB. Teens still need to work hard to compete for a limited number of summer jobs, but the chances are better than in recent years.

“The teen summer labor market is highly competitive,” said Rick Waclawek, director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives. “Large numbers of teens enter the workforce in a short time period seeking a limited number of summer job openings, and this summer may face additional competition from older workers. However, if teens start looking early and remain persistent, their chances of obtaining summer jobs can improve.”

In more good news, Michigan's budget will have about $300 million more this year than state economists predicted in January. That money is the result of greater-than-expected tax payments and fewer people receiving Medicaid and other state services. The money will be used for one-time solutions, according to state Budget Director John Nixon. Visit here to read more about Michigan's budget surplus.

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