Michigan's monthly unemployment rate has dipped by half a percentage point to 10.6 percent. The rate dropped primarily because so many people quit looking for jobs and dropped out of the workforce.
Bruce Weaver is with the state agency that tracks jobs data, the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives. He says Michigan's employment picture has improved slightly from a year ago, when the jobless rate was a full percentage point higher.
"The manufacturing sector has been one of the leading sectors in the state, adding about 21,000 jobs over the past year," he says. Professional business and business services are also up by about 20 thousand, and the whole health care sector has been a source of job growth in the state."
He says Michigan's employment trends roughly chart what's happening across the country.
"There's been some slow downward movement in the national unemployment rate, as well, but job additions so far in 2011 have been relatively modest, so many of the trends that you're seeing in the Michigan workforce data are similar to those national trends," he says.
Except that Michigan's rate remains higher than the national average of nine percent.
Weaver says the manufacturing, hospitality, and business services sectors are showing some growth, while there have been slight declines in construction, retail, and government employment
A forecast released this week by the firm IHS Global Insight suggests Michigan is not likely to see a return to pre-recession employment levels until at least 2017.