Michigan's unemployment rate of 14.6 percent was the highest in the country, according to today's release from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The next closest state was Nevada, which increased to 13.0 percent.

Michigan's rate actually decreased by 0.1 percentage points from November. But before calling the recession over in Michigan, the rate fell because there were fewer people looking for jobs, not because there were more people finding jobs. The BLS estimates that, when including marginally attached workers and people employed only part-time for economic reasons, Michigan's rate is above 20 percent.

Three other states joined in decreasing unemployment. Oklahoma and Iowa's rates fell to 6.6 percent, South Dakota to 4.7. Only Iowa saw actual employment growth.

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Even with the high unemployment, opportunities exist in Michigan. The monthly snapshots hide the impressive amount of job creation and loss. The state added over 800,000 jobs in 2009, even in a year where it lost more than 1 million.

States where employees enjoy right-to-work protections continued to have generally lower unemployment rates than non-RTW states. Eight of the 10 states with the lowest unemployment rates were RTW. The RTW dashboard has been updated.


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