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Posted on Fri, Nov 20, 2009 : 9:30 a.m.

Michigan's unemployment rate will top 15% through 2011, U-M economic forecast says

By Nathan Bomey

(Note:'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.

Michigan’s unemployment rate will average 15.8 percent in 2010, the worst annual rate in “at least 40 years,” according to the forecast. The average rate in 1982 - the peak of another dreadful economic crisis for the state - was 15.6 percent.

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 2012."

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.

Contact’s Nathan Bomey at (734) 623-2587 or You can also follow him on Twitter. You can also subscribe to's Business Review weekly e-mail newsletter.



Fri, Apr 23, 2010 : 7:59 a.m.

I personally don't think we get anywhere by blaming anyone. I think we need to come together as a community and reach out a hand and help the people in need. This mess has hit most of us in some way. Those of us who are working are lucky. (My personal opinion) is that we should all give back to our community.. if its volunteering your time to sit on a non profit board, or a board in the county or giving time at at a local non profit that cant afford to hire staff or donating a dollar to the charity of your choice, but we cant just point the finger, I know i would like to shake a few people myself but lets use our energy for something can help our community and maybe change the lives of our neighbors.


Sat, Jan 23, 2010 : 5:58 p.m.

To the two complaining about Toyota and foreign carmakers in general....Kind of interesting that Toyota, Honda, Kia, Hyundai, Nissan, soon to be VW (again) build MORE vehicles in the US than the Big Three do....Toyota has the tech center in Ann Arbor, Mazda and Hyundai also have small facilities in the Ann Arbor area, VW has a design center in California....where did the Big Three send so many jobs to????? MEXICO. Why? To maximize their profits by cutting their labor costs, as well as outsourcing components to foreign companies, costing even more jobs. Why do the foreign carmakers build so many vehicles in the US? NAFTA.....they can avoid serious import tariffs by building vehicles in the US, while Ford, GM, and Chrysler were maximizing their profits by sending jobs to Mexico, cutting out the (in many cases, but not all) ridiculously overpaid UAW workers, while giving their own CEO's and board members outrageous salaries and bonuses year after year. I've heard the other argument too, that by buying a foreign car, your money is going overseas....well, to an extent, yes....but all of the foreign carmakers operate US divisions, where MOST of the profit stays here in the states, while giving jobs to US workers (mostly non-union, but jobs, nonetheless). What have the Big Three done? Sent YOUR jobs south of the border, put YOU out of work, but kept the profits here in the US, which YOU haven't seen, because the legacy union costs, CEO salaries, and bonuses have taken most of it!!!!!


Mon, Nov 23, 2009 : 10:07 p.m.

Did U-M economists Joan Crary, Don Grimes and Fulton predict the current economical situation a couple years ago? Why not? How did they get so smart so quick?

Basic Bob

Fri, Nov 20, 2009 : 8:36 p.m.

As far as foreign cars, they are all fine by me as long as they are not made by Toyota. To me they are the walmart of industry, laying waste to the US economy with Japanese government backing. I'm happy for the few hundred people in Michigan with good-paying Toyota jobs, but this is a fraction of a percent of the state's economy.


Fri, Nov 20, 2009 : 3:34 p.m.

"suggestions and comments on how we can incentivize corporations and entepreneurs to maintain and create jobs in Michigan" what a joke...corporations are all about "what have you done for me lately" and their collective is as short sighted as the last quarters finacials or the electorate that bring these snake oil salesmen and saleswomen into public office.


Fri, Nov 20, 2009 : 3:26 p.m.

Basic Bob I hope you're including GM, Ford, and Chrysler as part of your "equal blame" remark while you bash anyone who drives a foreign car. The Big Three's insane outsourcing hasn't exactly helped the local economy. And while you bash people who drive foreign cars I am perfectly happy with my 2004 VW Jetta that after 95k miles just had its first brake pad, rotor, and timing belt repair, while my wife's 2007 Ford Escape has already gone through two brake repairs and a new transmission.

Nathan Bomey

Fri, Nov 20, 2009 : 2:28 p.m.

Here's a story I wrote in May discussing the auto crisis' impact on the Toyota Technical Center:


Fri, Nov 20, 2009 : 2:08 p.m.

I like Basic Bob's remark about Toyota owner's ruining Michigan's economy. I came here because of the Totoyta Techinical Center Located in Ann Arbor. How many employees does it employe? How much tax revenue does it gennerate? Thank God they decided to locate and expand here instead of another state.


Fri, Nov 20, 2009 : 1:40 p.m.

Right to work states like South Carolina aren't doing so well and seeing how you (topcat) are so against organized labor I'm sure you are happy to work weekends,holidays and forgo any other benefits you get thanks to the labor movement.

Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball

Fri, Nov 20, 2009 : 1:20 p.m.

We either help those who actually hire workers to move TO this state and hire more, or WE move to those states that have job-makers hiring. We have seen, in 8 years of governing, what Lansing has been able to do under Granholm and I am pretty tired of it (and in Ann Arbor things are not even HALF as bad as the rest of the state). Everyone knew the Auto's were falling away - the market share of the "not-so-Big 3" has been in free fall since the mid 80's. Where is the diversification in this state? Where are the jobs? The Michigan TAX BASE is being slaughtered and Lansing asks for MORE taxes and regulations. Your property values and tax revenues, in general, will not return until the "hiring climate" turns the corner and people move back to this state.


Fri, Nov 20, 2009 : 12:37 p.m.

@John Galt: I agree with your prediction, and that will also mean the loss of an electoral vote. This leads to a reduction in our significance and relevance at the national level.


Fri, Nov 20, 2009 : 12:16 p.m.

2 more years of contraction brings us a total of 11 years of continuous job losses. Both political party can share the blame on this because we can not afford to work as cheaply as the modern slave owners(wall street)would like. Time to eliminate all tax subsidies to any and all corporations(corporate welfare)....they have lost the right to reach into the taxpayers pockets while we have thousands losing their homes.We need a organized workers revolution!!!!!!

Basic Bob

Fri, Nov 20, 2009 : 12:10 p.m.

Many thanks to all who helped kill the economy. Equal blame goes to business, labor, government, and Toyota owners. Most of all the financial wizards who thought we could run a manufacturing economy on credit.

John Galt

Fri, Nov 20, 2009 : 11:48 a.m.

Not too surprising. This State will be a vacation and agricultural economy. Industry is not welcome and will not be coming back. Population is declining (we may well lose another Congressional seat after the 2010 census).


Fri, Nov 20, 2009 : 10:45 a.m.

Gee Nathan just like i said would happen.How can anyone be shocked by this uncarring state.