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 DETROIT, Jan. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- More people were employed in Michigan on average in 1993 than at any time in the state's history, according to year-end labor force estimates released today by the Michigan Employment Security Commission (MESC).
 "Michigan's work force and employment averages for the year reached record highs in 1993," MESC Director F. Robert Edwards reported, "while our unemployment rate fell to its lowest annual average in 15 years."
 Last year employment averaged 4,333,000, an increase of 128,000 over 1992. The work force climbed by 49,000 during the year to an average of 4,659,000.
 The state's jobless rate averaged 7.0 percent for the year, down nearly two points from 1992's 8.8 percent. The number of unemployed fell by 80,000, to an annual average of 325,000.
 "The last time Michigan had a lower annual average unemployment rate was 6.9 percent in 1978," Edwards noted.
 Along with the year-end numbers, MESC also reported the December 1993 unemployment rate, which climbed half a point to a seasonally adjusted 7.5 percent.
 According to estimates prepared by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment in Michigan rose by 25,000 last month to 351,000. In November the rate had been 7.0 percent with 326,000 jobless. A year earlier, December 1992, Michigan's unemployment rate was 8.0 percent with 369,000 out of work.
 "The unemployment increase occurred as workers began entering the job market in December," Edwards explained. "Many of these jobseekers perceived the improvement in our economy and were looking for permanent jobs, while others were looking for holiday employment.
 "Unfortunately, however, the surge in jobseekers was greater than the growth in new jobs," he said.
 Michigan's labor force climbed by 42,000 in December to 4,700,000, as employment grew by 19,000 to 4,350,000. Both categories, however, are up significantly from their year-ago levels. Employment has grown by 111,000 and the work force has expanded by 91,000.
 Retail trade was among the industries reporting job gains in December along with the service sector, wholesale trade, and the automotive and related industries.
 For the final quarter of 1993, Michigan's jobless rate averaged 7.1 percent, up from the third quarter's 6.8 percent, but down by more than a percentage point from 8.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 1992.
 Among the nation's 11 largest states, Michigan had the third-highest December unemployment rate, behind California (8.7 percent) and New York (7.6 percent). North Carolina at 4.9 percent had the lowest rate.
 The national unemployment rate fell to a seasonally adjusted 6.4 percent in December from 6.5 percent in November.
 -0- 1/7/94
 /CONTACT: Norm Isotalo of MESC, 313-876-5489/

CO: Michigan Employment Security Commission ST: Michigan IN: SU: ECO

SB -- DE018 -- 0140 01/07/94 11:54 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 7, 1994

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