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Michigan jobless rate drops in March

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Michigan’s March unemployment ratewas 4.4 percent. That rate is largely due to businesses re-opening as COVID-19 restrictions wind down.

But, while the jobless rate is low, so is the workforce participation rate. That is, there are still plenty of people who could work but are hanging back from re-joining the workforce. And economic analyst Bruce Weaver with the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget says there are plenty of jobs waiting.

“If individuals were to enter the labor market and start looking for jobs, there’s a high probability that they would be successful,” he told Michigan Public Radio.

He says this marks the 11th consecutive month the state has posted job gains since COVID-19 idled much of the workforce.

“And really for the last five months, the pace of job growth has been pretty steady,” he said. “The state has added anywhere from 12 thousand to 17 thousand jobs for each of the last five months.”

The biggest job gains came in industries that were most affected by the pandemic, such as hospitality and manufacturing.

In a statement, Governor Gretchen Whitmer cheered the jobs numbers:

“For 11 straight months, our economy has added jobs, and in March 2022, unemployment hit a pandemic-low of four-point-four percent. The last time Michigan had a four-point-four percent unemployment rate was in 2018.”

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Rick Pluta is the managing editor for the Michigan Public Radio Network.
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