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Published: Wednesday, 8/19/2009

Michigan's jobless rate drops to 15%

BLADE STAFF

LANSING Michigan s unemployment rate slipped slightly to 15 percent in July, the first drop in the monthly rate in more than a year.

The rate announced Wednesday is below the 15.2 percent jobless rate posted in June. But Michigan is likely to keep the dubious honor of having the nation s highest rate.

Michigan has led the nation for 26 of the last 27 months. Its rate was 8.3 percent in July, 2008. The national rate last month was 9.4 percent, down from 9.5 percent the prior month.

Ohio s July rate will be released tomorrow. In June, it was 11.1 percent.

In Michigan, the number of unemployed dropped by 9,000 to 731,000 in July, but still 324,000 higher than a year earlier. The employment figure increased last month, though, by 5,000 to 4.13 million.

State officials said hiring in the hotel industry, nursing, and residential care helped stabilize Michigan s jobless rate last month.

The state had tens of thousands on layoff from June in the automotive industry, which is why the July rate didn t climb as it typically does from the traditional summer shutdown in Michigan auto plants.



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