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Bad jobless figures
July 23, 2009 - Steve Murch
The Michigan Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth released its regional unemployment rates for June today. Northeast Michigan isn't at the top of the list. You could say it's welcome relief since our area usually is the state leader, but since unemployment still rose locally, there's nothing to be thankful for.
The “lowest” rate of unemployment is the Ann Arbor area with 10.6 percent. That's the best in the state. And Ann Arbor's rate jumped 1.4 percent from May.
The sad irony is the numbers were released on the day the Ann Arbor News is shutting its doors. When the paper announced it was closing there 272 employees, though it's likely there weren't that many there this week.
Northeast Michigan's rate for June was 15.4 percent, up from 15.1. Three regions were ahead of our area. Detroit and Jackson saw their jobless rate jump ahead of NE Michigan: Detroit went to 17.1 from 14.9 (more than 2 percent in that population is thousands more without work), while Jackson went to 15.5 from 14.1. Flint continues to have the state's highest unemployment at 17.4.
Maybe these figures were what the state Democrats were aiming at with their possible ballot proposals for 2010. One of the things they are looking to do with the proposed measures is to increase unemployment benefits. It's hard to figure out where the money will come from since fewer and fewer businesses are surviving the hard economy in Michigan.
There wasn't a single regional labor market in Michigan that had its jobless rate decrease in June, the traditional start of the tourist season. If no one is working, no one is vacationing. Just another sign that this may wind up being a very bad year for those reliant on the tourism dollar.
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