unemployment

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. 

Mackinac Bridge
Julie Falk / Flickr

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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.

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.

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.

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.

Detroit-area Congressman Sander Levin says the federal government must extend federal unemployment benefits.

Levin,  the ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, and other Democrats introduced bills Wednesday that would renew the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program for another year.

Tracy Samilton / Michigan Radio

Michigan is adding jobs, but the state’s unemployment rate remains stuck at 9 percent as more people compete for available positions. That’s according to the latest jobless numbers from the Michigan Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives.

Michigan’s unemployment rate was unchanged from August through October. The September and October jobs report was combined because of a delay in data-gathering caused by the federal government shutdown.

There has actually been a modest increase in hiring. But, at the same time, more people are looking for work.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

In This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rina Miller and political analyst Jack Lessenberry discuss bills in Lansing to penalize poor people who use drugs, a delay in the decision over gay marriage, and the sentencing of Bernard Kilpatrick.

The Michigan Senate yesterday overwhelmingly approved a bill to cut off unemployment benefits for anyone who fails or refuses a drug test. The House passed a slightly different version earlier, and within a few days the governor will be signing this into law.

This will make a lot of lawmakers, most of them Republicans, feel very righteous. They will have cut off funds to a group of desperate and poor people who apparently have substance abuse problems. I wonder what these folks will do then?

User: Brother O'Mara / Flickr

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.

User: Brother O'Mara / Flickr

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.

User: Brother O'Mara / flickr

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.

User: Brother O'Mara / Flickr

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.

Pages