State jobless rate finally falls to match U.S. level

Brian J. O'Connor
Detroit News Finance Editor

For the first time in 15 years, Michigan's jobless rate matches the national unemployment rate, dropping from 5.6 percent in March to 5.4 percent for April.

The improvement came mostly from 6,000 workers dropping out of the state labor force, with just 3,000 people finding new jobs, according to data released Wednesday by the state Department of Technology, Management & Budget.

The April rate was 2.1 percentage points below the April 2014 jobless rate of 7.5 percent, and marks the 20th straight month that the state unemployment rate has declined.

"Michigan has displayed an impressive run of monthly jobless rate reductions over the past year," Jason Palmer, director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives, said in a statement. "Statewide payroll job levels have increased by nearly 100,000 since April 2014."