LANSING, Mich. (AP) – Michigan’s jobless rate dipped to 4.5 percent in July, a slight drop from the previous month and lowest in 15 years.

The state said Wednesday it’s the lowest rate since January 2001’s 4.4 percent, but officials say it corresponds with a significant drop in labor force and employment levels. Total employment fell by 20,000, while the number of unemployed fell by 8,000.

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The Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives says Michigan’s unemployment rate has incrementally dropped this year, following a mostly decreasing trend since July 2009.

Gov. Rick Snyder says in a statement the creation of 475,000 private sector jobs in the past 5 years is “something to be proud of,” but adds “demanding challenges remain.”

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The U.S. jobless rate was unchanged at 4.9 percent in July.


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