unemployment

Economy
3:55 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Michigan's unemployment rate falls and the labor force ticks upward

Michigan's unemployment rate charted with the state's labor force.
Mark Brush Michigan Radio

The state's unemployment rate fell for the seventh consecutive month to 7.5% for the month of March 2014.

The unemployment rate is the measure of people who are out of work, but are counted as part of the overall labor force. The labor force is a measure of those folks who are actively looking for work in the last month. See my explanation of the rate here.

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Economy
5:10 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Why you should care if your neighbor doesn't have a job

Men work on a WPA construction project during the Great Depression
Credit Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum

In Michigan, 60.2% of people are in the labor force, according to a new state report.

The number is essentially unchanged from a year ago.

University of Michigan economist Don Grimes says at least 67% of Michigan's population should be in the labor force this many years after a recession.

He says people in their 20s, and people in their mid to late 50s, are having the most trouble finding work, both in Michigan and nationwide.

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Politics & Government
9:20 am
Thu April 10, 2014

Group says Michigan business owners oppose 'Ban the Box' bill

Critics say many employers won’t give prospective job applicants a chance if they see they have been convicted of a crime on a job application.
Credit 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.

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Economy
5:42 pm
Sat March 29, 2014

Program helping Genesee County teens get workplace skills

Next month, dozens of businesses and non-profits will take part in a job fair aimed at hiring teens for summer jobs in Genesee County.
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.

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Economy
4:11 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Boom in domestic energy production helping some industries, but Michigan's jobless rate rises

Michigan's seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate has risen 0.4 percentage points in the latest monthly report to 8.1%.
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.

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Business
2:02 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

How Detroit Manufacturing Systems hired hundreds of workers in the city

Detroit Manufacturing Systems has hired 729 workers in the last year-and-a-half. Two-thirds of the employees live in the city of Detroit. A federally-funded non-profit helped DMS find qualified candidates.
Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Listen to how Detroit Manufacturing Systems has hired hundreds of workers in the city.

Detroit's unemployment is high, really high. It's nearly 18%. That’s almost double the Michigan rate of unemployment and Michigan is among the worst in the nation.

So, when a manufacturer hires hundreds of Detroit residents, it gets attention.

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Politics & Government
8:31 am
Fri January 24, 2014

Michigan's unemployment rate has dropped, but there's more to the story

8.4% of the willing worker bees in Michigan can't find work.
user russavia wikimedia commons

Michigan's rate of unemployment has dropped to 8.4%.  A decline, even a small one, might be portrayed as good news.

But to put the number in perspective, you have to consider what the folks at the Bureau of Labor Statistics are measuring. The unemployment rate measures the number of people in the labor force that are out of work.

A measure of the buzzing bees

Think of the labor force as the number of people who have their worker bee wings buzzing. They're revved up and ready to work.

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Politics & Culture
5:02 pm
Thu January 23, 2014

Stateside for Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014

Gov. Rick Snyder has proposed committing up to $350 million of state money to guarantee city of Detroit pension benefits and to keep Detroit Institute of Arts' art off the auction block. On today's show, we spoke to Daniel Howes about what this cash infusion would mean. 

And, the recently passed farm bill is cutting Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) funding by more than $4 billion over the next 10 years. We looked into how this cut will affect people in Michigan who rely on food assistance.

Also, we heard Andy Soper's  story of failure from Failure:Lab Grand Rapids.

First on the show, Michigan's unemployment rate dropped to 8.4% last month. That December number brings the state's 2013 average jobless rate to 8.7%.   

That's down from 8.9% the year before.

And that means Michigan's annual jobless rate has gone down now for three years in a row.

But are these numbers a good indication of how Michigan's overall economy is faring?

Ballard joined us today to help us answer that question.

Economy
9:33 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Michigan's 2013 jobless rate: 8.4%

Michigan's December unemployment rate was 11.7 percent
Khalilshah Flickr

Michigan’s unemployment rate last year averaged 8.4%. That’s down from 8.9% in 2012. 

The state's annual jobless rate has gone down now for three years in a row. But while hiring is up, much of the decline in the rate is also due to people who’ve quit looking for jobs and are no longer measured as part of the workforce. 

Officially, there are 394,000 unemployed people in Michigan. The average length of unemployment is 39 weeks. The combined rate of unemployment, people who’ve stopped looking for jobs, and under-employment is 15.3%. That is also a drop from the previous year, when the unemployment and underemployment rate was 16.6%. 

Politics & Government
1:22 pm
Sat January 18, 2014

Washington's debate over extending federal jobless benefits heads home

Congressman Dan Kildee (D-Flint) talks with several people who are among Michigan's long-term unemployed. State Senator Jim Ananich (D-Flint) (center) listens.
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. 

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Stateside
4:08 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Battles over unemployment benefits, Mackinac’s oil pipeline gain federal attention

The Mackinac Bridge.
Julie Falk Flickr

An interview with Todd Spangler.

Emergency unemployment benefits and senatorial "jitters" over an Enbridge oil pipeline running through the Straits of Mackinac: Both are issues consuming attention from Michigan's congressional delegation.

More than a week ago, a federal unemployment benefits program expired, leaving 1.3 million jobless Americans without aid. Some 45,000 of them are here in Michigan.

The program is the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program. In Michigan, the EUC added 36 more weeks to the state's regular 20 weeks of benefits.

On Capitol Hill today, Democrats are trying to pressure House Republicans to extend the program for three more months.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration is trying to ease concerns over an oil pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac.

Detroit Free Press Washington reporter Todd Spangler joins us now to tell us more about these issues.

Listen to the full interview above.

Economy
12:15 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Compare Michigan unemployment numbers by region

Unemployment rates went down in the majority of Michigan from October to November 2013.
American Panel

The Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget released November unemployment rates by region today. 

They assessed 17 areas throughout the state. According to the press release, unemployment rates went down in 14 regions, and increased in three. The areas where unemployment went up was in northern regions, and were due to seasonal changes. 

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Politics & Government
6:00 am
Mon January 6, 2014

Democrats urge extension of emergency unemployment benefits

Sander Levin

Some top members of the US House—including one from Michigan—say Congress should act on unemployment insurance this week.

Emergency federal benefits for the long-term unemployed expired in late December. 1.3 million people lost unemployment benefits immediately—including more than 43,000 in Michigan.

Michigan Congressman Sander Levin is one of the Democrats who argue it’s counter-productive to cut off the long-term unemployed.

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ATM fees
5:36 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

ATM fees on unemployment debit cards to go down

ATM machine
Thinkpanama Flickr

People getting unemployment checks in Michigan will get a break on ATM fees next year.

Michigan issues unemployment checks on debit cards.

The old cards were issued by Chase Bank. Many people complained about unfairly high fees for using the cards at ATM machines.

For example, people had to pay a dollar to check their account balances.

Kurt Weiss is a spokesman for the Department of Technology, Management and Budget.

He says people will see that fee and many others go away after Bank of America takes over.

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Opinion
8:31 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Cutting benefits for Christmas

Lessenberry commentary for 12/20/13

Well, Christmas is almost here, and 43,000 Michigan citizens are getting a very unwelcome present this week. The state is notifying them that their extended unemployment benefits run out in eight days.

Since many of these folks have dependents, this is likely to be a huge blow to something like 100,000 people who are struggling to keep food on the table and the heat and electricity on.

This isn’t the result of a state policy, but a national one. There’s been considerable celebration over the recent federal budget deal that will avoid the threat of another government shutdown over the next couple of years. But that deal did not include any extension of federally funded Emergency Unemployment Compensation.

There’s no way they can reconsider this before the New Year, since the U.S. House has gone home. This is going to mean considerable hardship for more than a million people nationwide.

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Politics & Government
9:02 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Time running out to extend federal jobless benefits

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) says the situation is "shameful"
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.”

Politics & Government
7:18 am
Thu December 19, 2013

In this morning's headlines: State worker contracts delayed, unemployment 8.8%, McBride hearing

User: Brother O'Mara flickr

State employee contracts delayed

"The Michigan Civil Service Commission has delayed until mid-January a decision on new state employee contracts. The commission was supposed to have the final say in a fight over wages and benefits – especially health care coverage. But the commission deadlocked," Rick Pluta reports.

Unemployment drops to 8.8%

"Michigan’s monthly unemployment rate dropped slightly to 8.8%. The drop was due mostly to fewer people competing for jobs," Rick Pluta reports.

Renisha McBride hearing enters second day

"There will be more testimony today at the second day of hearings in suburban Detroit to determine if a homeowner will face a second-degree murder charge for killing an unarmed woman on his porch. The homeowner shot the 19-year-old in the face, saying he feared for his life," the Associated Press reports.

Politics & Government
6:13 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Michigan U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow backs compromise budget bill

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow will be among a large group of Democratic U.S. Senators and a small group of Republican senators expected to vote to approve a budget compromise tomorrow.   

The budget bill will allow the federal government to operate without the threat of a shutdown for two years.

Stabenow says the compromise bill is an important bi-partisan step.

“It allows us to reinvest in education…in innovation to grow the economy…while continuing to focus on long-term deficit reductions. I think it’s a very important step,” says Stabenow.

Business
8:15 am
Tue December 10, 2013

There may be fewer Help Wanted signs in Michigan at the start of next year

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.

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Politics & Government
7:23 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Rand Paul says Detroit needs 'freedom from government' to flourish

Rand Paul

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul says Detroit needs “freedom from government” to flourish again economically—and told the Detroit Economic Club Friday he has a plan to make that happen.

Paul is proposing legislation that would create “economic freedom zones” in high-unemployment areas like Detroit.

He says those areas would work like “enterprise zones on steroids,” mostly by lowering taxes.

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