Michigan no longer has the dubious honor of being "number one" for unemployment in the country, but The Michigan League for Human Services says that good news masks some troubling deeper issues. Its annual Labor Day report says several hundred-thousand people are not being counted in the unemployment rate because they retired early or stopped looking for jobs.
Spokeswoman Judy Putnam says the report compared Michigan's employment situation with neighboring states.
“We had the highest share of working families - meaning people had full-time jobs - where the family lives in poverty,” she says.
Putnam also says workforce participation has plummeted in Michigan. Only 60 percent of adults are working in the state, and the situation is much worse for black adults.
“Black workers have really suffered this decade,” she says. “Right now only 42 percent of black workers are working. And that's down from 60 percent in 2000.”
The agency says there are things the state could be doing, including restoring a state tax credit for low-income workers and making it harder for employers to fire low-wage workers for things like needing to take a sick child to the doctor.