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Michigan unemployment rate falls below 10%

@CNNMoney December 14, 2011: 4:50 PM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- In another sign of the turnaround of the U.S. auto industry, the unemployment rate in Michigan has dropped below 10% November, the first time it's been that low in three years.

Figures released by the state Monday put unemployment at 9.8%, down from 10.6% in October and 11.4% a year ago. The last time unemployment was below 10% in the state was November 2008, when federal bailouts and bankruptcies loomed for General Motors (GM, Fortune 500) and Chrysler Group. Unemployment in the state peaked at 14.1% in August and September of 2009.

Earlier this year GM, Ford (F, Fortune 500) and Chrysler were all profitable -- the first time that's happened since 2004.

As auto sales have rebounded along with profitability, the auto sector has added 6,200 jobs over the 12 months ending in October. Overall manufacturing jobs in Michigan reached 500,000 in November, adding 21,000 from the previous year.

Still, while the unemployment rate fell sharply in November there was relatively little gain in actual employment compared to October. Only 1,000 jobs were added and those were spread across different sectors.

The big one-month drop in the unemployment rate was due more to unemployed workers moving out of the state, retiring, or not actively searching for a job during the month.

The Michigan results mirrored the drop in national unemployment, reported earlier this month, that was helped by modest gains in payrolls coupled with a drop in those people actively looking for work.

Still with a gain of 59,000 jobs over the last 12 months, 2011 is poised to be the first year that Michigan has added jobs since 2000. To top of page

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