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Posted on Wed, Sep 16, 2009 : 2 p.m.

Michigan's unemployment rate: 15.2 percent

By Paula Gardner

The state's jobless rate remained relatively flat in August, climbing two-tenths of a percentage point to 15.2 percent, according to data released this afternoon by the Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Growth.

That number is up from 8.6 percent in August 2008, but represents relative stability since June.

According to a release from the state: “After showing large monthly jumps in the first half of 2009, Michigan’s unemployment rate remained steady during the summer months,” said Rick Waclawek, director of DELEG’s Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives. “However, payroll jobs in 2009 continue to decline, led by job cuts in the manufacturing sector.”

The latest number for the Ann Arbor area was 10.3 percent, recorded in July and reported in late August.

Also according to the state:

· In the first half of the year, monthly unemployment rate increases averaged seven-tenths of a percentage point.

· The 22,000 drop in the state’s labor force in August was the largest monthly decline since January. From January to July, Michigan workforce levels were relatively stable.

· Total employment in Michigan has fallen for 27 consecutive months since May 2007.

· Since August 2008, the number of Michigan unemployed residents increased by 74 percent, while total employment dropped by 8.9 percent. Nationally, the number of unemployed rose by 56.3 percent, and employment fell by 3.9 percent during this period.

The state should be posting the full press release to its DLEG website.


Sharon T

Thu, Sep 17, 2009 : 6:40 p.m.

to macsunset: the proper term is Gov. Jennifer Granholm or Gov. Granholm. knock it off with the dismissive Jenny.

John Galt

Thu, Sep 17, 2009 : 9:03 a.m.

Another indication of the Hard Times: The Federal Food Stamp program recently announced that 34.4 million persons were receiving assistance. That equates to about 1 in 8 of the entire U.S. population. In the 1930's we had bread lines--more visable and obvious. Today we hide it (I'm sure the politicians prefer that) by the use of food stamps to allow people to purchase food in the supermarkets, etc. Certainly, it is better to avoid the stigma, but hides the true extent of our nation's problems.


Wed, Sep 16, 2009 : 3:19 p.m.

@Macabre Sunset - I'd love to see state population figures. Heck, I'd love to see School counts compared year to year county-wide over the past decade. I heard horror stories of last years pupil count, but they were anecdotal in nature unfortunately. Would love to see Saline, A2, Ypsi, Milan counts for the past 10 years when this years are published. My 2 students & our tax dollars have moved east... Pformer Pfizer

David Briegel

Wed, Sep 16, 2009 : 3:12 p.m.

You should realize by now that it is the abject failure of everything Ronnie Reagan stood for, Reagonomics that has caused us to enter the Bush Depression. The ONLY group succeeding now are The Perpetual War Profiteers, our Christian gift to the world! Where were the 'teabaggers" when Reagan and the Bush Crime Family ran up 12 trillion dollars in debt and Sarah was building a "bridge to nowhere"? Poor Jenny, like Obama, has to clean up the mess made by her foolish predecessor!

Laura Bien

Wed, Sep 16, 2009 : 3:06 p.m.

The song "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime" was written in 1931, when the nations's unemployment rate was the same as our state's is now. I'll stop now. :)

Macabre Sunset

Wed, Sep 16, 2009 : 2:58 p.m.

It's not an old canard to look at the new tax structure for small businesses and realize that this state is discouraging expansion, hiring and recruiting. It's not an old canard to look at the one state in the union that has no caps on welfare and wonder why it's going to be stuck in a one-state recession long after the rest of the country recovers. It's not an old canard to look at the hold unions have over Jenny and her friends and wonder why young people graduating from one of our fine universities feel obligated to leave the state after graduation because unions protect age and incompetence. Hey, but at least we now get an occasional film crew dropping by to take advantage of our tax subsidies.

Jon Saalberg

Wed, Sep 16, 2009 : 2:13 p.m.

Sunset: please stop with the old canards about the governor. It was Engler and the GOP legislatures under his stewardship, that decimated Michigan's tax structure. Add in the poor product planning decisions by the former Big Three, and you have the main reasons why our state is in the shape it's in. Heck, Engler didn't even stick around to see what his disastrous policies have done to our great state - he fled years ago.


Wed, Sep 16, 2009 : 2:13 p.m.

I hope everyone realize that in the coming years, our economy will turn around either because of - or not - the current governor. There is always a lag - just like it took a while for FDRs efforts to kick in and he was helped out by he War. I wish people didn't look so short sighted. Lee Iacoca didn't save Chrysler, the efforts to save Chrysler where in place long before he arrived, he was just excellent at executing them and being the face of the company -- which surely did help.

Jon Saalberg

Wed, Sep 16, 2009 : 2:10 p.m.

OK, should have read the 1931 comment more closely. I will say that, for the most part, the Great Depression unemployment rate was much higher than today's rate - it was only close in 1931. The other years were: 1932 - 23.6%; 1933 - 24.9%; 1934 - 21.7%; 1935 - 20.1%. And I believe that most economists believe the levels we're seeing right now are the highest we will see during this recession.

Macabre Sunset

Wed, Sep 16, 2009 : 2:10 p.m.

Thanks, Jenny. We are truly "blown away" by your policies. The only thing keeping us below 20% is that people are leaving our state in droves.


Wed, Sep 16, 2009 : 2:09 p.m.

Yes, unemployment was 15.9 at the start, but climbed into the mid 20s at the peek after several years. source:,

Jon Saalberg

Wed, Sep 16, 2009 : 2:05 p.m.

According to several source I checked, the unemployment rate during the Great Depression was 25% - much worse than today's figure.

Laura Bien

Wed, Sep 16, 2009 : 1:47 p.m.

The nationwide unemployment rate in 1931 during the Great Depression was 15.9 percent.