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You are Viewing an Archived IssuePosted: 09/05/12
Report: Macomb County
lost 6.7% of its workers
by CHRIS GRAYMacomb County and Michigan itself has lost a large number of its workers since 2001.
Observer Staff Writer
A study released on Aug. 31 by the Michigan League for Human Services reports that Macomb County has lost a total of 27,443 workers between July 2001 and July 2012, or 6.7 percent of its workforce.
The report indicates that lost workers are those who have left the workforce and aren't counted in employment statistics as unemployed or employed.
Meanwhile, just over 60 percent of the state's adults were in the labor force in 2011, the lowest percentage on record.
"In other words, Michigan's improving unemployment rate is driven less by an increase in employed workers and more by a decrease in unemployed workers and in the total labor force," the report stated.
The industry that saw the biggest drop in Michigan was in manufacturing of durable goods, which experienced a 43 percent loss of workers between January 2001 and June 2012.
It is followed closely by construction, which decreased by 42 percent.
Gilda Z. Jacobs, president & CEO of the Michigan League for Human Services, said that although unemployment has shrunk, it doesn't mean that Michigan's workers are doing well.
"It's still important that we address policies that will give workers a career ladder and the ability to cover their basic needs," Jacobs said in a release.
Even those that are employed aren't faring well. The study also concluded that more than one of every four workers are in jobs that earn $10.39 an hour or less.
According to the report, one out of every 10 families were living in poverty in the Great Lakes State in 2011, the highest percent in the Midwest region.
Poverty was defined as making $18,000 a year or less for a family of three, or $23,000 a year or less for a family of four.
Education plays a key factor in how much families make a year. The study revealed that Michigan adults with an associate's degree made $3 per hour more than those with a high school diploma.
Similarly, those with a bachelor's degree or higher earn $11 more per hour than those with a high school diploma.
"This report reinforces the fact that education makes a difference in the lives of workers," Jacobs said.
The report also noted that working men in Michigan earn $3.84 an hour more than working women, the second biggest gap in the Midwest. The largest gap is seen in Indiana's workers at $4.02 an hour more for men versus women.
The report called for legislators to look at policies that invest in breaking down barriers to child care and transportation and restoring the earned income tax credit to 20 percent of the federal credit.