unemployment

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Drug test and unemployment bill moves forward

"People who fail or refuse to take a drug test as part of a job search could see their unemployment benefits revoked. The state Senate approved the measure yesterday," Jake Neher reports.

Lawsuit says rape common for juvenile offenders in adult prisons

"The state of Michigan faces a lawsuit alleging it has subjected hundreds of juvenile offenders to a high risk of being raped, by putting them in the same prisons as adults. Attorney Deborah LaBelle says the state has put kids as young as 13 in the same prisons as grown men. A new federal law went into effect in August requiring prisoners 17 and younger to be housed separately from older prisoners," Tracy Samilton reports.

Bernard Kilpatrick sentenced to 15 months in prison

"The father of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has been sentenced to 15 months in federal prison for a tax crime. The sentence ordered Thursday was at the bottom of the guidelines," the Associated Press reports.

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Judge delays decision on same-sex marriage

"A federal judge in Detroit will hold a trial before deciding whether to uphold or strike down Michigan’s ban on same-sex marriage. Judge Bernard Friedman declined to rule yesterday [Wed.] because he wants to get more facts. The challenge was brought by a lesbian couple in Oakland County who want to jointly adopt the special needs kids they’re raising together," Rick Pluta reports.

Detroit bankruptcy hearings begin

"Michigan’s emergency manager law took center stage at a hearing in Detroit’s bankruptcy case yesterday. The court is holding hearings on whether Detroit is even eligible to file for bankruptcy. A formal trial is set for next week," Sarah Cwiek reports.

Bill would end unemployment benefits if a person fails a drug test

"A state Senate panel has approved a bill that would revoke unemployment benefits if a person fails a drug test as part of a job search. The bill now goes to the full state Senate," Jack Neher reports.

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Obama administration in Detroit, to announce $300 million for the city

White House officials will be in Detroit today. As Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek reports,

"White House officials are expected to announce about 300 million in public and private dollars for Detroit. It will be a combination of new money, and federal dollars the city had been granted but couldn't access," Cwiek reports.

Fail a drug test, lose unemployment benefits bill moves forward

"Job seekers who refuse or fail an employer drug test could lose their unemployment benefits under a bill adopted by the state House," Rick Pluta reports.

State House votes to restore funding to Common Core

"Michigan would continue to implement a set of state school standards under a resolution that cleared the state House. State lawmakers stopped funding for the implementation of the Common Core standards earlier this year," Jake Neher reports.

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.

Unemployment line in California
Michael Raphael / Flickr

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan says seasonally unadjusted unemployment rates have increased in all 17 of the state's labor markets.

Figures released Thursday by the Department of Technology, Management & Budget show Michigan's overall unadjusted unemployment rate rose by 1 percentage point, from May's 8.4 percent to 9.4 percent in June.

The department says rates ranged from a low of 6.8 percent in the Ann Arbor region to a high of 11 percent in the northeastern Lower Peninsula. It says the rate was 10.3 percent in the Detroit area.

The department says regional jobless rate increases from May to June ranged from 0.1 to 1.3 percentage points with a median hike of 0.6 of a percentage point. According to state officials, rates historically advance in June by around half of a percentage point.

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Medicaid bill expected next week

The Medicaid expansion could reach a vote in the Michigan State Senate in late August.  A first draft of the bill may be ready by next week.  Michigan Radio’s Rick Pluta reports that Governor Rick Snyder “has said waiting until late August could jeopardize the state’s ability to get federal approval.”

Palisades Nuclear Plant at risk of closing

A new study puts the Palisades Nuclear Plant on a list of 12 plants at risk of closing before their licenses expire.  The study was produced by Mark Cooper at the Institute for Energy and the Environment at Vermont Law School.  The list weighs factors such as repairs and safety improvement, and also includes the Davis-Besse plant near Toledo.  Michigan Radio’s Lindsay Smith reports “Cooper says nuclear plants are simply more expensive to run safely as they age. Plus the falling price of renewable energy and natural gas make nuclear power less competitive.”

Michigan’s unemployment rate jumps

Michigan’s monthly unemployment rate increased to 8.7%.  Michigan Radio’s Rick Pluta reports, “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 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.

Job search seminar in Ohio
flickr user Daniel Johnson / Flickr

The Snyder administration has maintained its "relentless positive action" to reinvent Michigan. Lansing restructured taxes to give businesses better than a billion dollar tax break to encourage job growth in Michigan, and Gov. Snyder approved the right to work law which proponents insist will bring jobs to Michigan.

There has been some growth in jobs, but it’s been kind of anemic.

Charles Ballard, a professor of economics at Michigan State University, and Rick Haglund, a freelance writer for Bridge Magazine, MLive, and a blogger at MichEconomy.com, joined us today to discuss the issue. 

Listen to the full interview above.

State of Michigan

Michigan's unemployment rate for May 2013 remained unchanged from the previous month - 8.4%. If you compare it to May 2012, the rate is down - the unemployment rate in May 2012 was 9.2%.

After the Great Recession, the unemployment rate in Michigan began to drop from its high of more than 14% in 2009, but so did the number of people in the overall "workforce" in the state. The workforce, or the total number of people both working or actively looking for work, has only increased slightly in recent months.

This month, the workforce grew by 28,000.

Unemployment line in California
Michael Raphael / Flickr

It’s no secret that Michigan’s been in a bit of an economic rough patch. For black Michiganders, the downturn has hit even harder.

According to recent research by the Economic Policy Institute, nearly one in five African-Americans in Michigan are unemployed.

That’s almost 2.5 times higher than the unemployment rate for white workers in the state.

The discrepancy between white and black unemployment earned Michigan a new title: highest African-American unemployment nationwide.

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Buena Vista schools to reopen

Students in the Buena Vista school district will soon be heading back to the classroom. 

“The state Department of Education has approved the Buena Vista school district’s deficit elimination plan. The state will resume making aid payments, and school is expected to begin again next week for about 400 students,” Rick Pluta reports.

Unemployment rate falls and workforce grows

Michigan’s jobless rate continued to fall as 19,000 people found jobs last month, bringing the unemployment rate to 8.4% in April. The biggest gains were in the leisure, manufacturing, and health services industries while professional and business services declined. The size of the state’s workforce also grew by 2,000 people over the past year.

Department of Civil Rights faces budget cuts over mascot complaint

“The Michigan Department of Civil Rights could see its budget cut by $3 million over its stance on American Indian-themed school mascots. The department recently filed a complaint with the federal government over the mascots … Lawmakers in the state House have introduced a bill that would take money from the department and put it into a fund to help schools pay for any mascot changes,” Jake Neher reports.

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.  

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Lawmakers try to block referendum to wolf hunt

"The state Senate has approved legislation that would make a voter referendum on wolf-hunting in Michigan irrelevant – even before the question has been formally approved for the November ballot. The measure would name the wolf and 38 other animals as game species. That’s despite a looming voter challenge to a new state law that allows wolf hunting," Rick Pluta reports.

Education Achievement Authority in financial trouble, borrows $12 million from DPS

The state run school district meant to turn around the lowest performing schools has been found to borrow $12 million from Detroit Public Schools.  The Education Achievement Authority took over 15 former Detroit Public Schools this school year.

Unemployment rate down statewide

"Michigan says that the seasonally unadjusted unemployment rate is down statewide and in all 17 major labor markets. The lowest rate in the March report was for Ann Arbor at 5.1 percent. The highest was for the northeastern Lower Peninsula at 13.1 percent," the Associated Press reports.

Michigan's unemployment rate and labor force on the same chart.
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Michigan's unemployment rate dipped for the second month in a row to 8.5 percent.

The unemployment rate represents those in the labor force who do not have jobs.

People are counted as part of the labor force if they looked for a job - even once - during the four weeks prior to the BLS' giant phone survey.

We like to chart unemployment along with the overall labor force numbers to give you a clearer picture of what's going on in the state.

As our chart shows below, the overall labor force in Michigan dropped dramatically starting in 2007. Even though the unemployment rate has been dropping over the last 3+ years, the labor force only recently starting ticking upward.

MPRN's Rick Pluta has more on the numbers:

The drop in the monthly jobless rate was actually a change from recent history because it is due to 17,000 more people being added to payrolls, and not because people were leaving the workforce and no
longer competing for jobs.

Most of the job gains in March were in temporary help, and business services like IT and accounting. There were some job losses in the volatile retail and construction sectors.

And this is from the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget's press release:

"Overall, Michigan’s labor market situation in early 2013 has been positive,” said Michael Williams, acting director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives. “The state’s unemployment rate in March was the lowest recorded since mid-2008, and payroll jobs this year
are the highest since the fourth quarter of 2008."

(If you want more numbers to digest, there are a whole lot more in the press release above.)

State of Michigan

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The head of Michigan's Unemployment Insurance Agency is defending his agency's decision to not attend some insurance fraud hearings in light of staffing cuts.

Steve Arwood was called to testify in front of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Thursday.

Arwood was asked to address a report in the Detroit Free Press on Sunday that said the agency instructed officials to only show up at administrative fraud hearings if the amount is at least $15,000.

Arwood says last October the agency was forced to cut staff from 1,200 to 800 employees, including 20 people whose primary responsibility was to attend hearings.

In 2011, lawmakers passed legislation to reduce the threshold for a felony charge for unemployment insurance fraud from $25,000 to $3,500.

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.

U.S. Congress / congress.gov

Michigan stands to lose thousands of jobs if automatic federal budget cuts take effect at the end of the month.

The effects could ripple through the state’s economy.

Stephen Fuller, an economist at George Mason University, has broken down the effects of the $85 billion in federal spending cuts that will go into effect if the so-called sequestration goes through next week.

He estimates Michigan will lose 23,000 to 25,000 jobs, mostly defense department related, but also about 10,000 non-governmental jobs.

That’s slightly lower than the more than 30,000 jobs lost he predicted last year, but he says the effect on Michigan’s economy will still be more than $2 billion.

Fuller says small businesses will feel the effect more than large businesses.

“They have a harder time adjusting…they don’t have stockholders or large deposits in the bank to live off of,” said Fuller.

Fuller says government workers will probably start to feel the budget cuts in April, but a Lansing area defense contractor has already announced layoffs tied to the looming sequestration.

Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s unemployment rate held steady through the month of December at 8.9 percent, according to a report released today by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget (DTMB).

The December rate marks a four-tenths of a percent decrease from last year, while the national jobless rate dropped by seven-tenths of a percent over the same period.

Total employment declined by 11,000 last month.

Flikr

New data from the Brookings Institution shows a relatively strong economic recovery going on in Metro Detroit.

The Brookings Institution’s MetroMonitor report has been watching how the country’s 100 largest metro areas recover from the Great Recession.

Metro Detroit has posted one of the strongest recoveries—in part because the area slid into an earlier and deeper recession than most places around the country.

mediasilo.com

Members of Michigan’s congressional delegation are either back in Washington or soon will be.


Congress is going back into session to deal with the looming combination of automatic tax increases and deep spending cuts known as the “fiscal cliff”. 


There have been suggestions that lawmakers will allow the “fiscal cliff” to go ahead and leave the job of picking up the pieces to the next Congress that will be sworn in next month.


Mid-Michigan congressman Tim Walberg doesn’t want to see that happen.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A safety net for tens of thousands of unemployed Michiganders is about to disappear.

Saturday, a federal unemployment benefits program will officially end.

Since the recession began and Michigan’s chronic unemployment rate soared, state residents have been able to access federal unemployment benefits. The four tier program has provided money for people who’ve exhausted their state unemployment benefits since 2008. In some cases for more than a year.

Unemployment in Michigan declines for third consecutive month

Dec 20, 2012
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio

Michigan’s unemployment rate is down two-tenths of a percent to 8.9 percent over the course of November, according to a report released Wednesday by the Department of Technology, Management & Budget (DTMB).

That's seven-tenths of a percent below last year's November rate.

The labor force declined by 24,000 over the course of the month.

Bytemarks / flickr

Negotiations to prevent the nation from going over the fiscal cliff seem to be slowly progressing. Also under discussion is whether to continue the extension of federal unemployment benefits. An extension would be good news for the thousands of Michiganders currently receiving unemployment benefits. Without an extension, those benefits could end for those Michiganders at the end of the month. Michigan Radio's Jennifer White talked with Steve Gray. He's the director of the Ann Arbor office of the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Project. It's a non-profit law firm that provides free unemployment insurance advocacy and assistance to Michigan workers.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan college graduates are entering a sluggish job market.

Michigan State University’s annual Recruiting Trends report finds employers are not confident about the nation’s economic direction in 2013.    Many are worried about problems with Europe’s economy.   There’s also concern about the nation's deeply divided political leadership.   That's all putting a damper on employers’ hiring plans.

Phil Gardner is the director of MSU’s College Employment Research Institute.

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