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Michigan Jobless Rate Drops To 8.5%

Michigan’s unemployment rate has dropped slightly to eight-point-five percent.

As The Michigan Public Radio Network’s Rick Pluta reports, this is the state’s lowest jobless rate in five years.

The drop in the monthly jobless rate was actually a change from recent history because it is due to 17 thousand more people being added to payrolls, and not because people were leaving the workforce and no longer competing for jobs.

Most of the job gains in March were in temporary help, and business services like I-T and accounting. There were some job losses in the volatile retail and construction sectors.

The new rate is also half a percentage point lower than it was at this time last year. That was led by improvements over the year in plastics and auto-related manufacturing, healthcare, and mortgage banking.

But Michigan’s unemployment rate remains higher than the national rate of seven-point-six percent.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987. His journalism background includes stints with UPI, The Elizabeth (NJ) Daily Journal, The (Pontiac, MI) Oakland Press, and WJR. He is also a lifelong public radio listener.
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