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UAW strike plays a part in upward bump in MI jobless rate

U.S. Social Security Administration

The auto workers strike played a part in Michigan’s jobless rate edging up to 4.1% in October, according to the monthly jobs report from the Michigan Department of Technology, Management, and Budget.

The UAW strike against the Detroit Three automakers sent union workers to picket lines and forced layoffs by suppliers as the state’s jobless rate edged up by two-tenths of a percentage point.

Labor Market Information Director Wayne Rourke told Michigan Public Radio those numbers should quickly improve once contracts with all Detroit Three automakers are finalized.

“We would expect a little over 9,000 to 10,000 people that were on strike in Michigan to be back on payrolls next month and then those would be counted and help our payroll employment continue to show some moderate growth this year,” he said.

Another factor in that higher jobless number is the result of 23,000 people joining the labor force, which is the number of people who have a job or are looking for a job.

Rourke said the state’s jobs numbers should also improve as more people are hired to fill vacant positions.

“So the labor force is still going strong and people are coming back into the labor force,” he said. “Sometimes that causes the unemployment rate to go up a little bit, but that’s not a bad thing with the demand for workers that we’ve seen.”

Michigan’s October unemployment rate is slightly lower than it was at this time last year. It is also slightly higher than the national unemployment rate of 3.9%, which also rose slightly in October.

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