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Published: Wednesday, 6/18/2008

Michigan's jobless rate hit 8.5 percent in May, highest since Oct. 1992


LANSING, Mich. State officials said Wednesday that Michigan's unemployment rate jumped to 8.5 percent in May, hitting its highest monthly mark since October 1992.

The seasonally adjusted rate is up from 6.9 percent in April. A year ago, the state unemployment rate was 7.1 percent.

Michigan's jobless rate has been the nation's highest for some time now. The national rate in May was 5.5 percent.

Part of the reason for the higher rate is the rush of people looking for summer jobs. That swelled the size of Michigan's labor force.

Many of those looking for work couldn't find a job.

"Due to the overall sluggish economy, many were not successful as of May," Rick Waclawek, director of the state's Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives, said in a statement. "This is an unusually large monthly shift in the jobless rate, so additional months of data will be needed to see if this higher jobless rate is sustained."

The state's overall civilian labor force those working or looking for jobs included more than 5 million people last month, up about 26,000 from April. Total employment fell by 56,000.

About 3,000 manufacturing jobs were added last month, rebounding slightly as strikes ended in the auto industry.

Leisure and hospitality services added about 4,000 jobs while professional and business services added about 3,000.

Government lost 3,000 jobs. About 1,000 jobs were lost in both construction and retail trade.

Michigan has lost about 69,000 jobs overall in the past year.

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