Michigan's unemployment rate will top 15% through 2011, U-M economic forecast says
(Note: AnnArbor.com's Nathan Bomey also live blogged the economic forecast.)
A severe jobs crisis will continue to haunt Michigan as the state’s unemployment rate tops 15 percent through the end of 2011, according to a University of Michigan economic forecast released this morning.
The economists project the unemployment rate will average 15.4 percent in 2011. By comparison, the average unemployment rate for 2009 is expected to be 14.2 percent.
"Sobering statistics, almost surreal numbers, a situation crying out for a way to put a better face on things," U-M economist George Fulton said.
By mid-2011, the Michigan economy will be missing 20 percent of the jobs it had in 2000 and about 75 percent of the auto jobs it had then.
U-M economists Joan Crary, Don Grimes and Fulton delivered the forecast this morning at the 57th annual Economic Outlook Conference at the Rackham School of Graduate Studies. U-M economists yesterday projected the U.S. unemployment rate would top 9 percent through 2011.
Fulton offered some hope as the rate of job losses is declining, if not reversing.
“In Michigan, prolonged difficulties have become a way of life,” he said. “But the Michigan economy is in a more encouraging position now than it was at the beginning of 2009.”
Economists are typically wary of predicting trends beyond a couple
years, but the forecast indicates “we may see modest job gains for
Michigan’s unemployment rate in October was 15.1 percent, down slightly from 15.3 in September - a decline attributed partly to seasonal hiring.
For Michigan workers, 2009 was a disastrous year. The state will have lost 282,900 jobs this year - nearly three times the rate U-M economists projected in last year's forecast. Some 210,000 of those jobs were lost in the first half of 2009.
The job losses in 2009 were heavily concentrated in manufacturing, construction, trade and utilities. The only sectors that added jobs in 2009 were private education and health service (4,000 new jobs) and government (7,000).
But U-M’s forecast predicts a sharp reversal in employment at local government as the state’s budget crisis prompts municipalities to shed workers.
The number of lost jobs in Michigan is expected to dip to 84,900 in 2010 and 36,000 in 2011.
Michigan gained some 793,000 jobs from 1991 to 2000, but will have lost 937,000 jobs from 2000 to 2011, according to the forecast.
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