Michigan jobless rate falls to lowest point in 3 years


New numbers from the state Department of Technology, Management and Budget show Michigan's unemployment rate dropped significantly faster than the national average in 2010. More from Michigan Public Radio's Rick Pluta has more.

Michigan's December rate was nine-point-three percent - the lowest it's been in three and a half years. That's still high - the average was one in 10 people in Michigan officially unemployed in 2011 -- but Michigan's improvement outpaced the nation last year.

And University of Michigan economist George Fulton says many of the new jobs are well-paid positions in business and manufacturing.

"So it turns out to be inaccurate to attribute Michigan's current recovery to increases in local french frie production," he says.

But much of the drop in December and throughout 2011 was also due to people who quit looking for jobs and left the workforce. Michigan's rate of unemployment and under-employment in 2011 averaged 18.8%.