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Posted on Fri, Feb 10, 2012 : 4:21 p.m.

Michigan's 'underemployment' rate tied for nation's highest in 2011

By Nathan Bomey

Michigan's "underemployment" rate — which is considered a broader reflection of the health of the workforce than the unemployment rate — averaged 21 percent to 24 percent in 2011, according to a poll released today by Gallup.

The figures tied for worst in the nation with California, Florida, Nevada and Mississippi.

The underemployment rate includes people who "are either unemployed or are employed part time (fewer than 30 hours per week) and wish to be employed full time," Gallup said in a news release.

The average national underemployment rate was 18.6 percent for the full year.

Gallup reported a higher underemployment rate for Michigan than the federal government has reported. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says Michigan's underemployment rate for the fourth quarter of 2010 through the third quarter of 2011 was 19.2 percent.

The report comes after the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget announced last month that Michigan's unemployment rate fell to 9.3 percent in December. In November, the rate fell below 10 percent for the first time in three years.

University of Michigan economists projected in November that the state would add nearly 31,500 jobs in 2012 and 37,200 in 2013 after adding about 64,200 jobs in 2011. They called it a "sustained recovery" at a "subdued pace."

The recovering manufacturing sector, which includes a robust auto industry, is expected to account for about 27.3 percent of the new jobs over the next two years. The sector, which added 19,000 jobs in 2010 and 25,000 in 2011, is expected to add 21,000 over the next two years.

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



Sat, Feb 11, 2012 : 2:37 p.m.

I've found it amusing to see the bumper stickers that say " ( insert Democrat ) jobs and respect for America " on a Subaru


Sat, Feb 11, 2012 : 5:25 p.m.

More like the union almost sunk the big 3. It was the big three that saved themselves and told the union we don't have the money to pay you. Now? They want their dues? We need to really limit what the union can and cannot do.


Sat, Feb 11, 2012 : 2:01 p.m.

Sorry but it did save alot of jobs in Michigan and other states. Also look at GM now. They are making money and paying back there debt!!! That's more than I can say for the banks and wall st. Also Ford borrowed a ton of money right before this happened. Not from the government but from the banks. They are paying it back. I think alot of people just sit around hating the auto companies, and yes I don't agree with alot of the unions's ideas. So if all you so called American's would start buying a American made car where the profits stay here in America instead of going back to Japan, China, Korea we would be a whole lot better off. Ann Arbor is the worst offender for buying foreign cars. They rant and rave about buy local. well give me a break and buy American made cars GM, Ford, and let those profits stay here and give Americans jobs.


Sat, Feb 11, 2012 : 1:58 p.m.

Forget the underemployment term,this is the new normal for the middle class. The republicans have been working on this since actor and chief Reagan started the destruction of the middle class.


Sat, Feb 11, 2012 : 1:58 p.m.

Did I ask my tax dollars be spent to save Chrysler and GM? As a taxpayer did I ask for the unions to OWN part of GM? Ford survived because of sound business practices, and a reorganization of GM and Chrysler would have benefited the company ultimately. Unfortunately, all the hoopla about economic recovery by the Obama administration is just that. These figures show that millions have dropped out of the workforce or are underemployed, or are on unemployment, and we have no economic "recovery". Sorry, democrats, there's no way to spin it.


Sat, Feb 11, 2012 : 6:12 p.m.

Sounds good except the financing system was frozen and there was none to be had for GM or Chrysler. Now, however, thanks to Obama, GM is the #1 auto company in the World and Chrysler had it's first profitable quarter in over 20 years. Millions have their jobs, employment has increased, governments were saved from taking over empty factories, paying unemployment and ER bills, losing income taxes, property taxes, business taxes, associated businesses going out of business, etc.


Sat, Feb 11, 2012 : 11:02 a.m.

Hey Sparty: Who saved Ford? Who saved Toyota? Who saved BMW? Who saved Honda? Who saved Hyundai? Oh that's right they didn't take the Obama candy and they survived quite nicely!


Sat, Feb 11, 2012 : 6:08 p.m.

No, do your own google searches --- it's well documented that each of the Governments I noted support their national car companies, so it shouldn't be difficult to find.

Tom Whitaker

Sat, Feb 11, 2012 : 1:59 p.m.

ALL the car companies who were producing fuel-efficient vehicles benefited from the "cash-for-clunkers" stimulus program in the US, whether they took direct loans from the Fed or not. Japan had a similar program in their country.


Sat, Feb 11, 2012 : 1:53 p.m.

Who saved BMW why the wall street types did. They had more money than they knew what to do with. Who else could afford one?


Sat, Feb 11, 2012 : 1:34 p.m.

Sparty....could you provide a link about Japan , S Korea and Germany saving their auto industries please ? I accidently voted for you BTW


Sat, Feb 11, 2012 : 1:15 p.m.

Who saved Toyota and Honda? The Japanese Government. Who saved Hyundai -- South Korea. Who saved BMW - Germany's Government. GM is now the Worlds #1 Car Company and Chrysler had it's first profitable quarter in more than 20 years.

Basic Bob

Sat, Feb 11, 2012 : 10:33 a.m.

Those underskilled and undermotivated workers are in big trouble now that we can have the same work done well enough in any third-world country. Hence we have underemployment. For skilled salaried workers, there is an equally exasperating problem called mandatory unpaid overtime. For those who would like to work less hours, should that be called overemployment?


Sat, Feb 11, 2012 : 5:07 a.m.

Ah, here it is, the Auto industry employment numbers, an industry saved by Obama over the objections of republicans, will account for 27.3% of the new jobs added in MI over the next two years. Slick Rick should find it difficult to crowe about 1/3 of the improvement in the unemployment rate in 2011 given even higher auto hiring last year. And certainly the same moving forward. Where is DonBee ?


Sat, Feb 11, 2012 : 1:11 p.m.

Hardly a loss .... the Government still holds it's investment in GM stock, like lots of other investors. Until the investment is sold, there is no loss. In addition, there was no unemployment paid to millions of unemployed, no empty factories to assume control of and remediate, no additional millions of homes to foreclose upon and lose property taxes on, no loss of income taxes from millions of jobs, no payment of health care for those using emergency rooms, no losses in associated suppliers, dealerships, financing companies, insurance companies, etc. How quickly would would that "paper loss" have lasted, jcl ? Instead, GM is now the Worlds #1 Car Company and Chrysler had it's first profitable quarter in more than 20 years. Spin this.


Sat, Feb 11, 2012 : 6:07 a.m.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Including the $1.3 billion loss on its Chrysler investment, announced Thursday, the United States government has lost about $14 billion on the auto industry bail-out. Go ahead and crow!

David Briegel

Sat, Feb 11, 2012 : 12:54 a.m.

If only we stay the course and follow the philosophy of Ronnie and those Bush tax cuts it will all just trickle down and we will all feel so warm. And wet. Because we all know what trickles down and it smells!


Sat, Feb 11, 2012 : 1:52 p.m.

One trick pony.


Sat, Feb 11, 2012 : 1:29 p.m.

David....You always start out with Regan why no Carter ? why no Clinton ? .If Clinton was so great and solved our economic problems then what does Regan have to do with it ?

David Briegel

Sat, Feb 11, 2012 : 3:09 a.m.

Because you have nothing to explain the abject failure of your "philosophy"!


Sat, Feb 11, 2012 : 2:09 a.m.

I second that Amen.


Sat, Feb 11, 2012 : 2:08 a.m.

sbbuilder Amen!


Sat, Feb 11, 2012 : 2:06 a.m.

Oh good gracious. Play another tune, already.


Fri, Feb 10, 2012 : 9:52 p.m.

"University of Michigan economists projected in November that the state would add nearly 31,500 jobs in 2012 and 37,200 in 2013 after adding about 64,200 jobs in 2011" What they don't mention is that these so called experts revise their "projections" every couple months.

average joe

Fri, Feb 10, 2012 : 10:30 p.m.

And are these projections "full time" jobs or are they those that are less than 30 hrs/week, which will do nothing to the "under-employment rate".