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Unemployment rate drops as fewer compete for jobs

Unemployment line in California
Michael Raphael
Unemployment benefits will run out for millions of Americans this spring if Congress doesn't extend the unemployment insurance program (an unemployment line in California in 2007).

Michigan’s monthly unemployment rate is down, but it’s because fewer workers are competing for jobs.

About 17,000 people dropped out of the workforce and gave up their search for a job. That nudged the state’s unemployment rate down by two-tenths of a percentage point, to 8.8%.

There was a bump in manufacturing jobs last month, but that was offset by layoffs in hospitality and government employment.

Hiring is up, though, from where it was at this point a year ago. An additional 60,000 people are employed, mostly in manufacturing, business services, and healthcare. 

About 413,000 Michiganders are still out of work and looking. The state’s rate of unemployment and under-employment is 14.5%.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.