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Posted on Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 2:40 p.m.

Washtenaw County's unemployment rate falls to 6.6 percent

By Nathan Bomey

Washtenaw County added 6,600 jobs from August to September, causing the area's unemployment rate to fall from 7.2 percent to 6.6 percent, according to statistics released today by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget.

It's the lowest unemployment rate for the county since it was 6.6 percent in April.

Most of the job gains were attributable to universities and schools that "rehired support staff for the new academic year," the state reported. The government sector added 6,200 jobs from August to September.

"Many of these jobs were seasonal support staff and student workers at local universities," the Department of Technology, Management and Budget reported.

In the private sector, professional and business service providers added 400 jobs, while private education and health service providers added 300. Retailers added 100 jobs, but the trade, transportation and utilities sector lost 100.

The number of jobs based in Washtenaw County rose from 191,200 in August to 197,800 in September. That's up from 196,700 in September 2010.

The number of employed county residents rose from 165,000 in August to 167,500 in September. That's down from 168,100 in September. The county's labor force — a measurement of the number of employed residents plus the number of unemployed residents who are actively seeking a job — was 179,300 in September. That was up from 177,800 in August but down from 182,100 in September 2010.

Washtenaw County's unemployment rate is the fourth lowest among Michigan's 83 counties. Mackinac (4.4), Clinton (6.4) and Cheboygan (6.5) were better.

Contact's Nathan Bomey at (734) 623-2587 or You can also follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's newsletters.



Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 11:21 p.m.

How about a nice independent audit of the $1.8 BILLION we taxpayers 'spent' (e.g. donated) to our business czars? Oh, I'm sorry there's no way to do that since the 'donation' was made with no reporting (actually written so no reporting was possible) requirements. A lot of nice new luxury yachts, homes, etc. being built somewhere outside of Michigan. Your Republican legislature in action!


Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 1:40 a.m.

Most of the job gains were attributable to universities and schools that "rehired support staff for the new academic year," Union contracts require advance notification of layoffs. In the Spring, the schools are not sure how much money they will get from the state for the coming year. So they lay off many workers at the end of the school year (more than they expect to need to). In the Fall, they know their budget and they rehire most of them. Thus, the numbers are inflated on both sides of the ledger.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 10 p.m.

When is the "War on Prosperity" going to end?

David Briegel

Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 12:49 a.m.

When all that "prosperity" begins to "trickle down".


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 9:43 p.m.

all right 6200 seasonal jobs !!!! and college kids from out of the area (emu and u of mi)getting jobs to help pay for school , that's fantastic real paying tech jobs no where to be found.


Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 8:04 p.m.

Is that because people have used up their unemployment benefits and no longer eligible for unemployment? How many of those are now receiving "welfare"? I'd love to see some data on that. Unemployment goes down......welfare recipients go up. ......


Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 2:10 a.m.

You have to take the numbers with a grain of salt. What we'd really want to know is how many working age people live in the county who want, and are capable, of working. That would be our 'labor force'. Unfortunately, they don't track that. The key phrase in the report is "actively seeking a job" - which is a code for "being tracked as unemployed." I.e. if you aren't receiving unemployment benefits, you most likely aren't being tracked, and aren't counted as unemployed. To see that, notice the number of jobs in the County fell 600 over the past year. But 2,800 people disappeared, including 2,300 unemployed people. Where they went, nobody knows, but our unemployment rate dropped from 7.7% to 6.6%. So see, we just need another 2,800 people to be abducted by aliens or something, and we'll be back to full employment!

David Briegel

Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 12:41 a.m.

Because they are overwhelmed with all that "trickles down"!

David Cahill

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 8:04 p.m.

Hmp. We used to routinely have the lowest unemployment rate in the state.

David Briegel

Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 12:40 a.m.

That's when we had Jenny.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 6:56 p.m.

"Most of the job gains were attributable to universities and schools that 'rehired support staff for the new academic year,' the state reported. The government sector added 6,200 jobs from August to September" Well, we KNOW that can't be true because conservative dogma tells us government does not create jobs. Good Night and Good Luck

Ed Kimball

Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 1:52 p.m.

Mike K -- you are correct to say that you don't get something for nothing. But you can get jobs for tax dollars. I spent about one-third of my 35 year career in jobs that were created by the government, a couple of years as a civil servant but mostly as a private sector contractor. Those were good jobs -- just as good, well-paying, and productive as the private sector jobs in the other two-thirds of my career. Yes, the government does use tax revenue generated by the private sector, but it can and does use them to create jobs.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 3:03 a.m.

When facts and logic prove conservative dogma to be fairy tale, I guess the only reply can be "What to do with you liberals............." Because, after all, who would expect a conservative's reply to employ facts and logic? GN&GL


Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 1:46 a.m.

Hey, and thinking about it more (I know, I should stop), if the University of Michigan decided to become a private university, thousands of jobs would miraculously appear out of thin air! Because, you know, the jobs weren't there when it was a public university...


Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 1:42 a.m.

But then the public sector generates infrastructure and education for the private sector to consume. Does that mean if we eliminated corporate taxes, conservatives would have to come up with another slogan, since public sector employees pay the same taxes that private sector employees pay? Ooh, that's probably thinking about it *way* too much, huh? Where's that kool-aid?

David Briegel

Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 12:40 a.m.

"something for nothing". No Mike, unless you inherit your wealth or win at the rigged Wall St Casino. I'm certain that's what you meant to say. Of course, you would never harm the "job creators" who aren't.

Mike K

Fri, Oct 28, 2011 : 12:17 a.m.

Secondly, seasonal jobs come and go................ Funny how you left that out, intentionally, I'm sure. When they go next year, I'm sure you'll be here blaming Snyder lol.

Mike K

Thu, Oct 27, 2011 : 11:26 p.m.

ugh - a government job without private sector tax generation is not sustainable. What to do with you liberals............. Government does not create jobs in as much as you wish. The private sector generates tax revenue for the public sector to consume. Period. You don't get something for nothing - ever.