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Economy

Michigan sees slight drop in jobless figures for Jan. to 10.7%

LANSING -- Michigan's jobless rate fell in January to 10.7 percent, down from a revised 11.1 percent in December, the state Department of Energy, Labor, & Economic Growth said Wednesday.

It was the lowest unemployment rate in Michigan since December, 2008, and is a 3 percentage points lower than the same month a year ago. Michigan's jobless rate peaked at 14.1 percent in August and September, 2009.

A number of factors are responsible for the decline in the state's jobless rate. After remaining relatively flat through early 2010, Michigan's labor force has declined steadily since April, 2010, falling by 74,000, or 1.5 percent, over the last year. At the same time, total employment in the state grew by 75,000, or 1.8 percent, after a sharp fall in 2009.

Overall, Michigan's unemployment rate -- which was the worst in the nation for several years -- has fallen by 23 percent since January, 2010, while the national unemployment rate has declined 7 percent overall.

Bruce Weaver, an economic analyst for the state of Michigan, said the revisions the state recorded to jobless rates in 2009 and 2010 --an annual process directed by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics -- resulted in an average yearly unemployment rate that fell from 13.6 to 13.3 percent for 2009, and from 13.1 to 12.5 percent for 2010.

Although the state lost jobs in the period, the largest factor responsible for the downward revision was a decline in the number of unemployed individuals, Mr. Weaver said. The January report shows 508,000 people unemployed, or nearly 150,000 fewer than a year earlier.

Despite the improved rate, the payroll figures remain well below and jobless rates are well above pre-recession levels.

The national unemployment rate, released a month ago, was 9 percent in January.

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