Wednesday, May 23, 2018
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High Michigan joblessness expected to worsen

Rocky times. Auto industry woes and other issues have pushed Michigan's jobless rate in October to what is likely the highest in the nation and have left the state with 26,000 fewer people in the workforce.

But more unemployment is to come.

Problems in Monroe and Lenawee counties have contributed to the problems. Tecumseh Products Co. said this month that its factory in Tecumseh will be shuttered next spring, idling 160 refrigeration-system-assembly and warehouse workers.

City Manager Kevin Welch said, "Certainly we have residents who are impacted by downsizing and layoffs in automotive and manufacturing industries."

Michigan's jobless rate last month was 7.7 percent, its worst in 15 years. Rates for individual counties won't be released for a few weeks. The national rate for the month was 4.7 percent. Ohio's figure is to be released today.

Dana Johnson, chief economist and senior vice president for Comerica Bank in Detroit, said the job cuts and restructuring in the auto industry will hurt other sectors, such as retail.

"The numbers speak for themselves," he said. "People are looking for jobs and they are not finding anything suitable."

Rick Waclawek, director of Michigan's Department of Labor and Economic Growth's Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives, said, "The October unemployment rate increase reflects short-term layoffs in the auto industry."

The September jobless rate was 6.3 percent in Monroe County, down from 6.4 percent in August, said Doug Kuras, of Michigan Works, an employment training agency.

Requests for employment assistance have mostly been made by laid-off auto workers, he said.

Mr. Johnson, the economist, said more jobs could be lost as automakers continue to trim production and cut jobs.

"We are in the late innings of this process, but not near the bottom or in the middle," he said. "There is definitely still some more to come."

Contact Mark Reiter at

or 419-724-6096

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