According to recent statistics released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor the State of Michigan continues to carry the highest rate of unemployment for the 46th consecutive month. The State saw a decrease in the rate from November to December dropping one tenth of a percentage point to 14.6 percent. In September the state saw it's jobless rate peak for the year at 15.3 percent followed by three consecutive months of decline, although the decrease in unemployment is not being attributed to that of job growth but a shrinking labor force from October to December it's estimated that in the month of December alone the State's labor force dropped by 31,000. The BLS estimates that when counting marginally attached workers (those that have given up searching for work) and those who are working part time due to economic restraints in 2009 the State's unemployment rate is 21.5 percent for the year, these figures illustrate how serious the unemployment issues are in the state and how much higher the unemployment rate could grow, many of the discouraged workers will certainly seek jobs when the economy improves.
Despite adding over 800,000 jobs throughout the year the State lost over 1 million total jobs in 2009 which caused the jobless rate to jump 5.6 percentage points from 8.4 percent in 2008 to 14 percent in 2009. This large increase in the jobless rate has been attributed to the restructuring of the big three automotive corporations, who were the heart of the Michigan economy. In early 2009 both General Motors Corporation and Chrysler LLC were dealing with restructuring and bankruptcy both companies focused on slimming down it's overall workforce and helped attribute to the estimated 210,000 jobs that were lost in the State during the first half of 2009. Now it's estimated that the automotive industry accounts for 1.5 percent of the economy, down from 3 percent in 2005 and a peak of 5 percent in the 1950's. With the automotive industry remaking itself and focusing on clean energy the State is hoping to do the same. The Governor and lawmakers across the state have been working on drawing more business into the state with tax credits and stimulus funds. The State scored a win back in April of 2009 when Governor Jennifer Granholm announced that a set of new tax breaks totaling at $543.5 million had lured four battery manufacturers to invest $1.7 billion in the state and create nearly 6,700 jobs in return the state will help the manufactures seek $2 billion in federal stimulus money, by 2020 Granholm expects this initiative to help employ 60,000 workers. This is just one part of a larger attempt of the State to lure any alternative fuel companies to hire thousands of engineers that were employed by the automotive industry. Another initiative that the State is working with is that of reeducation. In 2007 the State took actions to re-train many of it's unemployed workers with No Worker Left Behind which provides two years of free training or community college for the unemployed or displaced workers. Since then the program has signed up over 60,000 workers that have been able to be retrained or go to back to school to gain new skills.
The State is also focusing on bringing other industries into the state that are not manufacturing related, one of it's biggest successes has been the film industry. In 2008 the State gave the entertainment industry a refundable business tax credit of up to 42% for production costs spent in the State, since then over 100 films have been shot in Michigan and it's estimated that the entertainment industry spent over 125 million dollars on production costs in the State of Michigan in 2008 creating 2,763 production jobs. It's quite possible that the tax credit may be reduced in the future with lawmakers currently attempting to tackle the budget deficit many conservatives are calling for the tax credits to be revised giving larger tax credits to infrastructure projects and post-production facilities and reducing the tax credits given to productions. In 2010 the State will continue to focus on shifting the economy and bringing in new industries. Governor Granholm recently asked for Washington lawmakers to focus on creating jobs, with $40 million dollars of stimulus money already awarded to the state for the creation of a high speed rail that will travel from Detroit to Chicago.
Hohman, James. "Michigan Unemployment: Topping the Charts for 46 Months." Mackinac Center for Public Policy(2010): n. pag. Web. 2 Feb 2010.
Vlasic, Bill, and Nick Bunkley. "Michigan Works to Remake Itself Without King Auto." New York Times (2009): n. pag. Web. 2 Feb 2010. .
RUGABER, Christopher. "Underemployment at 21.5% for Michigan in '09 ." Detroit Free Press(2010): n. pag. Web. 2 Feb 2010.
"Michigan receiving $40 million for high-speed rail." January 28, 2010. The Chicago Tribune , Web. 2 Feb 2010.