jobless

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - The Michigan appeals court says workers can qualify for unemployment pay if they're fired for using medical marijuana.

  In a 3-0 decision Friday, the court ruled in favor of a hi-lo operator, a hospital employee and a furniture repairman. The court says there was no evidence that they used marijuana at work or that they had worked while under the influence of pot.

  Rick Braska, Jenine Kemp and Stephen Kudzia were fired after drug tests. All had medical marijuana cards. The use of marijuana to alleviate certain ailments was approved by voters.

Unemployment line in California
Michael Raphael / Flickr

Anybody who's out of work in Michigan knows they can't get an unemployment check for as long as they used to. 

Ever since the federal government stopped offering emergency benefits extensions at the end of last year, Michiganders can get just 20 weeks of jobless benefits.

They used have up to 99 weeks, back when the recession was at its worst.

For months now, Democrats and a handful of Republicans have been trying to get those extensions up and running again. 

But some Republicans say no.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A new poll shows Michigan business owners strongly oppose legislation to prevent them from including a question about criminal convictions on job applications.

88% of Michigan business owners polled by the National Federation of Independent Business say they oppose the ‘Ban the Box’ bill.

Charlie Owens is the NFIB state director. He says it doesn’t make sense to wait until a job offer is made before being able to do a criminal background check.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Hundreds of Genesee County teenagers just completed a program that may help them land a summer job.

Teen Quest gives 14 to 19 year olds a chance to learn a variety of skills, from how to apply for a job to how to behave in the workplace.

Rhetta Hunyady is the Vice President of Education and Training for the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce.   She says it’s very important for young people to learn workplace skills.

“Teens who generally don’t have any work experience, while they’re a teen, really don’t fare well later in life,” says Hunyady.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Manufacturers are taking advantage of lower domestic oil and gas prices, and many of them are using those cost savings to hire more workers.

The boom in domestic oil and natural gas production is fueling growth in manufacturing across the country and especially in urban areas, according to a new report from the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Congress is on recess.

So the debate over extending federal emergency unemployment benefits has moved from Washington to local congressional districts. 

The benefits were created during the recession to help the long-term unemployed.   But the emergency benefits expired at the end of December. 

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Time is running out for more than 43 thousand Michiganders whose federal unemployment benefits are set to expire next week.

Jobless benefits were extended for the long-term unemployed during the recession.

Unless Congress passes another extension, the benefits will end December 28th.

Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow is among those pushing for an extension.

“We have tens of thousands of people in Michigan that are going to lose their help right after Christmas,” says Stabenow, “That’s shameful. There’s no reason for it.”

bgottsab / flicker.com user bgottsab

Manpower says slightly fewer Michigan companies plan to hire new employees in the beginning of next year. 

The human resources company surveyed Michigan business owners for its first quarter Employment Outlook Survey.

Manpower says 18% of Michigan companies plan to hire new workers between January and March. That’s down from about 22% in the fourth quarter of this year.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Jobseekers who refuse or fail an employer drug test would put their unemployment benefits at risk under legislation that has cleared the state House.

The measure would create a one-year pilot project to try out the idea. Employers would not have to participate, but could choose to report to the state if a job applicant either refuses to take a drug test, or fails one.

State Representative Frank Foster (R-Petoskey) says this would help ensure jobless benefits go to people who are serious about looking for work.

User: Brother O'Mara / Flickr

Michigan jobless rate increases to 9 percent

"Michigan lost a net 7,000 jobs last month to bring the state’s unemployment rate to 9 percent. This is the third month in a row the state’s jobless rate has increased," Rick Pluta reports.

Census shows Michigan is doing well with retirement income, bad with health insurance and household income

New Census data sheds light on where Michigan stands nationally in regards to income, poverty and health insurance. As the Detroit Free Press reports, Michigan is among one of the top states for the number of people who have retirement income.

"Nearly 1 in 4 Michigan households has retirement income. . . Michigan’s median household income remains lower than the national average, while the state has fewer uninsured residents than the national average."

Pontiac Schools to have consent agreement, no emergency manager

"The Pontiac Board of Education has approved a consent agreement with the state to deal with a financial emergency in the district, avoiding the appointment of an emergency manager," the Associated Press reports.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A bill to cut off unemployment benefits from people who fail drug tests has cleared a state House committee. The bill passed largely along party lines.

House Bill 4952 would cut off unemployment benefits from people who fail a drug test as part of a job search. It would treat them as if they had turned down a suitable job while receiving unemployment checks.

State Rep. Frank Foster (R-Petoskey) chairs the House Commerce Committee.

Michigan’s unemployment rate has edged upward for the third month in a row hitting 9%.

The number of unemployed job seekers in Michigan jumped slightly from 418 thousand to 425 thousand. That brings the state’s jobless rate back to where it was at the beginning of the year.

The increase was due almost entirely to job losses and not to people rejoining the workforce and boosting competition for existing positions.

Michigan’s unemployment rate ticked up one tenth of one percent in July to 8.8%.  

It’s the second consecutive month the state’s jobless number went up.   The increase is blamed on the number of new job seekers entering the market outpacing the number of job openings.

Bruce Weaver is an economic analyst for the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget.  He says the rising unemployment number should not be a concern.

Michigan’s monthly unemployment rate jumped slightly to 8.7%, as more people are competing for jobs.

There are actually about 9 thousand more people working in Michigan.  But there are also more people who told the government’s monthly employment survey that they are looking for work.

Michigan’s rate of unemployment and under-employment is 16.1%. That includes people who’ve stopped looking for work or part-timers who’d like to be full-time.

The state’s jobless rate from this point 12 months ago is down six-tenths of a percentage point.

11alive.com

Michigan’s teen unemployment rate is more than double the state’s overall jobless rate.

State and local officials say limits on federal grants intended to promote youth employment are partly to blame.

State labor officials say a quarter of Michigan teens who want a job can’t find one this summer.   And they say part of the problem is the number of requirements on youth employment programs that are funded with federal grants.

Michigan’s unemployment rate declined by one tenth of one percentage point last month.

Michigan’s April unemployment rate was 8.4%, down seven tenths of a percentage point from April of 2012. The state’s jobless rate has been on the decline since last September.

The biggest gains last month were found in the leisure, manufacturing and health services industries, while professional and business services posted a big decline.

And the state’s latest labor numbers are not just about people with jobs.

Perezhilton.com

Michigan labor officials say teenagers may have a better chance this year of landing a summer job.

In the summer of 2010, at the height of the recession, teen summer unemployment was pegged at 35 percent.

State economic analyst Bruce Weaver predicts this summer teen unemployment should be closer to 25 percent.

“The types of industries that tend to hire teens … which primarily fall in the service and retail sector … have added jobs in Michigan over the past several years,” says Weaver.  

Michigan’s employment picture brightened a bit in February.

The Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget says the state’s jobless rate dipped slightly in February, down one tenth of one percent, to 8.8%.   Michigan's unemployment rate has been declining since last August. 

In real numbers, total employment increased by 15,000 jobs over the month while the number of unemployed declined slightly by 3,000.

Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan's unemployment rate is on the rise, jumping 0.4 percentage points to 9 percent in the latest figures from the state.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for July that was released Wednesday remains 1.6 percentage points below July 2011's rate of 10.6 percent. The national rate has fallen 0.8 percentage points in that time.

Lamanda Coulter

This week, Michigan Radio's State of Opportunity reporter delved into one of the uncomfortable truths of the Great Recession: that kids were among the hardest hit.

He writes that in 2010, one out of three kids in this country lived in a house where neither parent had full-time, year-round work. He says the recession affected everyone in America, rich and poor. But some groups were hit worse: people with no college degree, African-Americans and children.

Click here to follow Dwyer as he interviews parents feeling the effects of unemployment.

Check back in to the State of Opportunity website to read and listen to new stories every week.

-Elaine Ezekiel, Michigan Radio Newsroom

Michigan’s unemployment rate ticked up last month.

Michigan’s unemployment rate rose two tenths of one percent in May to 8.5%.

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Unemployment rates declined in most of Michigan during the past month.

State officials reported Thursday the Detroit Metro region saw the sharpest decline, down about six tenths of a percent from February to March.   Unemployment ticked up slightly in Ann Arbor.

In Lansing, unemployment held steady at 7.2%.

Daniel Zanetti was at a job fair in Lansing Thursday.    The recent college graduate is hopefully he can soon find a job in his field.

user Thewmatt / Flickr

There’s new information showing Michigan’s drop in unemployment is spread out across most of the state.

Last week, the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget reported that the state’s unemployment rate had fallen to 8.8 percent. The last time the state’s jobless rate was below 9 percent was September of 2008.

New data from the state shows the decline was spread widely through Michigan. 

Michigan’s unemployment rate continues to decline.

Michigan’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped three tenths of one percent to 9% in January.

During the past year, Michigan’s unemployment rate is down nearly two full percentage points.

The state’s unemployment rate is now at its lowest mark since September 2008.  It’s also about five percentage points lower than at the height of the recession in 2009. 

Manufacturing and Professional services saw the biggest jump in new hires.

 

 

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

Union members and others picketed outside the offices of Michigan’s Republican congressmen today to protest the lack of a deal to extend unemployment benefits.

About three dozen protesters waved signs at honking motorists outside Congressman Mike Rogers Lansing office. They were there to draw attention to a deadline looming at the end of the month.

Sixty-six thousand Michiganders may lose their unemployment benefits in January if an extension is not passed

Khalilshah / Flickr

One in 10 people in Michigan are out of work and looking for a job. The state's March unemployment rate was 10.3 percent. That's almost unchanged from the February rate of 10.4 percent. But it's a full three points below the March 2010 rate of 13.3 percent.

Michigan added 79,000 jobs over the past year, mostly in temporary help, IT, and the auto in industry.

Improvements in the unemployment rate have been modest so far this year, but reflect real job gains and not people leaving the workforce.

Two Democratic state lawmakers are preparing legislation that would restore unemployment benefits cuts recently signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder.  Snyder signed legislation to extend federal jobless benefits, but the bill also contained a provision shrinking state unemployment benefits from 26 to 20 weeks next year.  

Republicans lawmakers pushed for the jobless benefits cuts, saying it will reduce the burden on Michigan businesses, which pay into the state unemployment insurance pool. Jim Ananich is a state representative from Flint.   He’s introducing legislation to restore those benefits.  

“You know I’m hopeful that they will see the error of their ways and see that now is not a time to be taking money out of people’s pockets.”

Ananich hopes to introduce his bill next month.

Two days ago a friend of mine called me in a semi-panic. Her unemployment benefits were about to run out, and she had eighty-seven dollars to her name. She wasn’t going to be able to make the modest payment on her small house, and didn’t know what to do. Nor did she understand what was going on in the legislature. Someone had told her that the governor was signing a bill to extend unemployment benefits. Somebody else told her he was going to shorten them. Which, she wanted to know, was it?

Well, both, I said. The governor signed a bill Monday that extends eligibility for federal extended unemployment benefits for up to ninety-nine weeks.

That’s only, however, for people like my friend Karen, who already is collecting unemployment.

Next year, however, things will change drastically. Any Michigander who loses his or her job after January 15, 2012 will only be eligible for state unemployment benefits for a maximum of twenty weeks. That’s less than five months.

For years, jobless workers in Michigan have been able to collect benefits for a maximum of twenty-six weeks, or six months. They can collect them for longer periods of time now because the federal government decided to temporarily provide benefits, because of the lingering effects of the recession. Those effects are still hanging on in Michigan, where unemployment is still more than ten percent. Economists expect that to come down a little by next year, but we’re likely to continue to be a long way from full employment. What that means is that for many people, twenty weeks is not going to be enough time to find a job.

So why is our government making it tough for jobless workers? Interestingly, nobody is really coming forward to defend this. Governor Snyder said he signed this bill because it was necessary to extend benefits for those who are jobless now. He said he would have been happy to leave eligibility at twenty-six weeks, and blamed the legislature for shortening the time period. Why did they do this? Well, nobody is rushing forward to claim credit.

(Courtesy of the Michigan governor's office)

Update 11:33 a.m.:

Michigan Congressman John Dingell (D) has released a statement condemning Snyder's signing of the new law. In a written statement, Representative Dingell said:

"This law is another in a long string of Republican assaults on working families and unions. In one fell swoop, the Republicans in Lansing have made it so that people in Michigan receive state employment benefits for a shorter period of time than anywhere else in the nation. Michigan does face a budget crisis, but it cannot be solved by declaring war on the unemployed, who - now more than ever - need all the help they can get in order to support their families and find new jobs."

Original Post 10:52 a.m.:

Governor Rick Snyder today signed legislation extending jobless benefits. The law will allow 35,000 Michiganders to receive an addition 20 weeks of federal jobless benefits. Their benefits would have expired April 1st. In a written statement, Snyder says: 

"These benefits are a lifeline for many Michigan families who are struggling in this challenging economy... Cutting them off so abruptly would have jeopardized the well-being of those who are trying hard to find work. Now that we have continued this safety net, we must renew our focus on improving Michigan's economic climate. We will continue driving forward with our job-creating reforms so that fewer people need to rely on unemployment benefits."

Democrats pushed for the extension, but many eventually opposed the final version. The final legislation was amended to reduce the number state jobless benefits from 26 to 20 weeks.

Republicans say reducing the length of state benefits will reduce the burden on state businesses that pay into the state jobless benefits pool. By cutting the number weeks of state jobless benefits,  future unemployed Michiganders will be eligible for fewer weeks of additional federal unemployment benefits.  

According to the state Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth, the average unemployed Michigander uses about 19 weeks of jobless benefits. Michigan's unemployment rate declined to 10.4% in February. There were slightly less than a half million people in Michigan without a job who wanted one.  

Michigan's jobless rate is still about 2 percentage points higher than the national average. But the state's jobless rate has been declining since September 2009.

(Flickr swanksalot)

UPDATE 1:24 p.m.:   A spokeswoman for Governor Rick Snyder says the governor expects to sign the bill which would reduce the number of weeks jobless Michiganders will be able to recieve state unemployment benefits. Spokeswoman Sara Wurfel says:

"(The governor's) priority was to ensure no one receiving unemployment benefits was cut off abruptly. It's a lifeline for Michiganders right now - we simply can't risk tens of thousands of Michigan's families immediately losing their benefits in April.  He’s continuing to work tirelessly to help turn around Michigan's economy and create more and better jobs so that we can hopefully reduce the need for unemployment in the first place."

ORIGINAL POST 12:17 p.m.: Democrats are calling on Governor Rick Snyder not to sign legislation that will reduce state unemployment benefits to Michiganders from 26 to 20 weeks. The Republican controlled legislature passed the benefits  cut Wednesday, as part of  a bill to continue extended federal jobless benefits to Michigan’s unemployed.

Royal Oak Congressman Sander Levin says the governor should veto the bill that will eventually reduce benefits for Michigan’s most in need.  

"This is the worst time to do this for Michigan workers.  I think it is reckless.  It’s inexcusable.”

Cutting state benefits will reduce the cost to Michigan businesses that must pay into the unemployment fund.  Cutting state unemployment benefits by 6 weeks could also reduce federal unemployment benefits by up to 16 weeks for jobless Michiganders. The Michigan Chamber of Commerce says the change will save state businesses $300 a year starting in 2012.

Levin says it’s unfair to shorten the period unemployed Michiganders can receive jobless benefits. 

“The governor can say to the legislature 'Get back.  Do what needs to be done here.  And stop the hijacking.'”

Federal jobless benefits for 35,000 unemployed Michiganders will expire April 1st  if Snyder vetoes the bill.

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