Michigan’s unemployment rate drops to 7.4 percent

business suitThere was a net gain in hiring last month in by finance and professional service businesses in Michigan. That offset auto industry layoffs as the state’s unemployment rate fell a fraction of a percentage point to seven-point-four percent.

It’s the eighth month in a row the state’s jobless rate fell. A year ago, the rate was at eight-point-eight percent – one-point-four percent higher.

Over the past 12 months, job gains have been concentrated in the auto sector, engineering, IT and restaurants. The unemployment rate would be lower, except more people are re-joining the workforce to look for jobs.

Governor Rick Snyder said growing optimism about job prospects is good news.

“So we’ve seen strong growth in our workforce while we’ve seen lower unemployment rates. That’s a good outcome,” said Snyder.

But Michigan’s combined rate of unemployment and under-employment remains high at 15-point-one percent. That number also counts people who have stopped looking for work and people working part-time who’d like to be full-time.