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State jobless rate finally on par with U.S. level

businessmen-604311_1280Michigan’s unemployment rate dropped to 5.4% in April to reach a milestone not seen for 15 years and now equal to the nation’s number.

It marked the first time the state and national rates stood at the same level since September 2000, an achievement that boosts those who herald Michigan as the nation’s leading comeback state.

Even so, Michigan’s economy is yet to recover all the jobs it lost during its lost decade. That remained a sobering footnote to the otherwise upbeat jobs report.

As every Michigan worker knows, between 2000 and today, the state endured an economic crisis of appalling dimensions. The state lost 800,000 jobs, or roughly one in five, over a 10-year run. The jobless rate ranked as the worst in the nation for prolonged periods. Two of its signature companies, General Motors and Chrysler, went through bankruptcies.

Michigan’s unemployment peaked at above 14% during the depths of the Great Recession, and as recently as a couple of years ago the state’s rate remained among the worst in the nation. But a series of recent improvements has brought Michigan’s rate down to the middle of the pack now among the 50 states.


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