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Michigan jobless rate down in October

Brian J. O'Connor
Detroit News Finance Editor

Michigan's unemployment rate fell by one-tenth of a percentage point during October, edging down from 7.2 percent to 7.1 percent.

According to state data released Wednesday afternoon, the ranks of jobless workers fell by 5,000 while 13,000 Michiganians found jobs. The household survey includes self-employed and contract workers. In the separate survey of employers, the state added 7,000 payroll jobs during the month.

"This gives us three straight months with a decline in the unemployment rate, and five of the last six months with an increase in the number of payroll jobs," said Bruce Weaver, economic analyst with the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget.

The new 7.1 percent rate is the lowest for the state since 2008, and is 1.5 points lower than the October 2013 rate of 8.6 percent. In the past 12 months, unemployment has declined by 71,000 jobless workers, while 110,000 men and women found jobs.

Nonetheless, the state rate in October is 1.3 percentage points above the national unemployment rate of 5.8 percent.

The biggest gains during the month came in the professional and business services sector, which added 6,000 jobs, mostly in technical services and temporary staffing, Weaver said. The retail sector added another 4,000 jobs. Losses came in the leisure and hospitality sector, which dropped by 2,000 jobs, and construction work, which also shrank by 2,000 positions.

Through the first 10 months of the year, Weaver noted, the state's average unemployment rate is 7.5 percent, compared with an average of 8.8 percent for all of 2013.

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