Michigan Unemployment Decreasing Steadily

Michigan's jobless rate continues to drop after being among the nation's leaders for more than a year.

The state said Wednesday that February's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 10.4%, a decrease of three-tenths of a percentage point and well below the February 2010 rate of 13.5%.

The Department of Energy, Labor & Economic Growth says total employment increased by 11,000 jobs.

The nation's unemployment rate for February was 8.9%. Michigan's jobless rate has declined steadily since reaching 14.1% in September 2009.

The number of unemployed fell below 500,000 for the first time since November 2008.

The state says job levels have increased since mid-2009 while the numbers of unemployed have fallen. There also are fewer workers active in the state's labor force.

Unemployment benefits do not define the statewide unemployment rate, state officials have told 24 Hour News 8. The rate is based on interviews with what officials calculate to be a representative sample of residents. But if a person who exhausts benefits stops looking for work, he or she does disappear from the ranks of the unemployed.

Jobs Outlook
The W.E.Upjohn Institute , in its West Michigan business outlook, sees employment in West Michigan increasing by 0.8%, about 6500 jobs in 2011. Manufacturing jobs will grow by 0.5% and private service jobs will go up by 1.2%. But the state's budget problems may spill over into job cuts.

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