Thursday, January 28, 2010

December jobless rate higher in most Michigan regions

Jobless rates increased in 16 of Michigan's 17 major labor markets during December, according to the Michigan Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth (DELEG).

The Detroit area was the only labor market to not see an increase in unemployment, according to DELEG statistics released today. Ann Arbor reported the lowest seasonally unadjusted jobless rate at 9 percent, while the highest recorded was 18.7 percent in the northeastern Lower Peninsula.

According to the DELEG, Michigan's three northernmost regions recorded significant seasonal hikes of at least 1.4 percentage points from their respective November jobless rates, while
the unemployment rate in the Detroit-Warren-Livonia Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) actually fell 0.5 percentage points last month.

Industries in which job loss occurred include construction, government jobs, the service industry and tourism.

Since Decemeber 2008, total employment has decreased across the state with significant drops in Holland-Grand Haven, Flint and Niles-Benton Harbor MSAs. Employment in all 17 labor markets has fallen at an average of 4.8 percent over the past year.

"Regional labor markets in December generally followed typical seasonal patterns" stated Rick Waclawek, director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information & Strategic Initiatives, in the DELEG press release. "However, 2009 as a whole was anything but typical. Michigan not only faced the impact of the second year of a severe national recession, but also had to contend with the fallout from major restructuring within the auto industry. These two events caused regional unemployment rates to rise dramatically in 2009."

Michigan's seasonally adjusted jobless rate was 14.3 percent in December, which is up from 14.1 percent in November. The seasonally unadjusted jobless rate was 14.6 percent in December.

Brief: Road construction delays will cost thousands of Michigan jobs

Michigan's Transportation Commission is delaying hundreds of road and bridge construction projects scheduled for the next five years, which will cost Michigan workers thousands of jobs, because the state was unable to raise the money needed to match federal funding.

The Associated Press (AP) reports the state will dramatically drop spending from roughly $1.4 billion on roads this year with the help of federal stimulus funds to around $600 million for three out of the next four years, if Michigan fails to raise enough money to qualify for more federal funds.

State Rep. Richard Ball (R-Laingsburg) and Rep. Pam Byrnes (D-Chelsea) introduced a package of bills earlier this week that would raise just enough money to meet Michigan's federal matching fund requirements over the next five years — $240 million annually to start, and $480 million when fully implemented in 2013, according to an AP report.

Borders to close the book on 10 percent of corporate jobs

Borders, the second largest U.S. bookstore chain, plans to cut 10 percent of corporate jobs in an effort to lower costs.

The company, based in Ann Arbor, plans to layoff 124 workers, primarily in the finance and information technology divisions, Reuters reports. About 88 of the jobs are at Borders' headquarters, while the remaining 36 jobs will be cut elsewhere. Executives will not be affected by this mass layoff.

About 40 positions will also be cut from distribution centers in California and Tennessee.

"There's an ongoing need to balance the payroll and the overhead with the sales performance," Borders spokeswoman Anne Roman told Reuters.

The company has reported dwindling sales as consumers purchase more books and music online. Reuters reported Borders' sales dropped 14.6 percent during the 11-week holiday period that ended January 16.

Borders currently employs about 22,500 workers, mostly in the United States. The company operates 515 stores between it's namesake superstores and the Waldenbooks chain. However, the book-selling company is in the process of closing 183 Waldenbooks stores, and therefore, will only have 148 Waldenbooks stores open by early February.

Ford Motor Co. stabilizes after years of cuts, may see growth and add jobs

For years, Ford Motor Company, headquartered in Dearborn, has been slashing everything from employees to product lines.

However, recent signs point to the auto company’s stabilization and possible growth.

As Ford’s market share is rising again, consumer spending is beginning to increase and some of the company’s competitors – namely Toyota, which recently had to recall vehicles – are struggling, Detroit Free Press columnist Tom Walsh predicts the company is “poised to grow.”

According to the Free Press, Ford is not predicting an overall employment increase. However, the company announced this week the addition of 1,200 jobs in Chicago to assemble the new Explorer SUV, and the Free Press reported the company plans to add 1,000 workers in Michigan by 2012 to build electric and hybrid cars and battery packs.

To read Walsh’s full column, follow this link:

Obama: 'Jobs must be our number one focus in 2010'

With the country's workforce suffering a 10 percent national unemployment rate, jobs were at the forefront of Wednesday's State of the Union address.

"Jobs must be our number one focus in 2010, and that is why I am calling for a jobs bill tonight," President Barack Obama said. "... People are out of work. They are hurting. They need our help. And I want a jobs bill on my desk without delay."

To see Obama's comments regarding jobs yourself, follow this link to a CBS News clip from the State of the Union.

Acknowledging many Americans' frustration with the banking bailout, the President called for $30 billion of the bailout money repaid by the banks be used to assist community banks in extending more credit to small businesses. Obama further proposed a repeal of capital gains taxes on investments by small businesses, and he requested tax breaks for companies, both large and small, that create new jobs.

Charles Ballard, Michigan State University economist, told the Detroit News the president's proposals for businesses will be helpful.

“But we have to understand that given the damage that was done to the economy a year or so ago, it is going to take time,” he said. “And there is no set of policies that are a silver bullet.”

Michael Rogers, spokesman for the Small Business Association of Michigan, told the Detroit News any incentive Congress passes to make credit more available would certainly help small businesses.

“We hear all the time from small businesses that one of the major problems they face in this downturn is access to credit,” he said.

Luke Canfora, Michigan director of Repower America, a clean-energy advocacy group, told the Detroit News it's important clean energy is at the forefront of the President’s agenda.

"Here in Michigan, where so many auto jobs have been lost, we are ready to transition to green jobs," Canfora said.

For more statewide opinions of the President’s remarks Wednesday night regarding jobs, the economy and other issues read this article from The Detroit News:

Michigan is among Top 5 states for 2009 mass layoffs

Although Michigan has the highest unemployment rate in the country at 14.6 percent, it does not top the list for the most mass layoffs in 2009.

California suffered the largest number of mass layoffs with Illinois, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Ohio rounding out the top five, as reported by the Detroit News.

Nationwide mass layoffs — firings by a single company of 50 or more employees, whether temporary or permanent — reached 28,030. The Detroit News reported this is the highest number of mass layoffs recorded since 1996, when records of mass firings were first kept. About 2.8 million workers nationwide lost their jobs during last year’s layoffs, according to new government data released Wednesday.

Michigan’s mass layoffs increased 12 percent in 2009, after spiking to a 23 percent increase in 2008. Although the percentage of mass layoffs is down from 2008, the Detroit News reported the average number of laid-off workers per mass layoff increased from 31 in 2008 to 140 workers in 2009.

According to the Detroit News, 2001 was the only year worse for Michigan due to the recession and terrorist attacks that year.

While this data shows how many workers lost jobs in the mass layoffs, it does not state how many of those layoffs were temporary or permanent.

"My gut says that were getting more permanent downsizing than we had in 2001," economist Don Grimes of the University of Michigan's Institute for Research on Labor, Employment and the Economy told the Detroit News. For more information from The Detroit News:

Wind power blows in potential Saginaw Bay Area jobs

The recent designation as a “primary wind energy resource zone” in the Great Lakes Saginaw Bay region will likely create green jobs.

Saginaw, Bay, Tuscola, Huron and Sanilac counties received the designation Wednesday from the Michigan Public Service Commission, reported the Saginaw News.

Parts of Allegan County along Lake Michigan were also designated as primary zones, and the Saginaw News reported additional locations may be designated as well.

“Michigan has taken a giant step forward in harnessing its abundant wind energy, which has gone virtually untapped,” agency Chairman Orjiakor Isiogu said in a statement Wednesday. “Transmission companies will now be able to expedite siting of the transmission projects needed to move the wind energy onto the electric grid.”

Isiogu predicts this green, renewable energy initiative will create “many renewable energy jobs.”

Job hunters, recruiters utilizing Twitter

Scouring newspaper classified ads for available positions is a job search tactic of days past.

Job hunters today have found a new search device— Twitter.

Tweeting allows recruiters and human resource departments to quickly and cheaply reach a large audience of job seekers, and they have increasingly utilized the social media Web site to announce job postings and connect with potential hires.

The New York Times Bits blog reports 340,000 jobs have been listed on Twitter within the past month, said William Fischer, co-founder of WorkDigital, which created TwitJobSearch, a Web site that searches Twitter for jobs.

On the flip side, job seekers can follow companies' human resources departments, career coaches, recruiters and job boards, including MLive’s classified job listings at

The newest feature job seekers should use is JobDeck, a new device from TwitJobSearch and TweetDeck, a desktop Twitter application that allows users to control their various social media accounts from one application.

JobDeck allows job hunters to find Tweets from human resources professionals, set up continuous searches and find the status of listing updates from LinkedIn, a professional networking Web site that recently formed a partnership with Twitter. Advertisers, such as KFC and Adidas, also submit job postings and can pay for premium placement within the search engine results, according to the New York Times Bits blog.

Several employers are finding Twitter to be a successful recruitment tool, sparing them time, money and other inconveniences related to traditional advertising.

Richard Barton, chief executive of the real estate Web site, found his company “deluged with resumes” after tweeting on Jan. 7, “Greg Slyngstad & I are cooking up a consumer internet startup. R U our founding CTO? Seeking smart, passionate team-builder.”

Barton told the New York Times Bits blog, “It’s the most powerful recruiting tool I’ve ever used.”

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Tata Consultancy Services brings 1,250 jobs to Midland

Tata Consultancy Services, one of eight companies approved Tuesday for tax credits by the Economic Growth Authority, will create 1,250 new jobs in Midland.

The information technology services and consulting company plans to establish a Business Process Service Center, a $12.5 million investment, in Midland. Vision Mid Michigan reports this business center will provide core business services such as financial consulting, order processing, information technology and other services. The center is also applying for a property tax abatement from the city of Midland.

During its initial phase, the project is expected to create 500 jobs, and an additional 750 jobs are expected to be created in subsequent phases.

According to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), the increased economic activity created by this project will create 1,119 indirect jobs, for a total of 2,369 direct and indirect jobs created.

The state tax credit approved by the Michigan Economic Growth Authority is valued at $22.1 million over ten years, which officials hope will encourage the company headquartered in Mumbai, India, to expand operations in Mid-Michigan.

Brief: New jobs coming to Benzie County

An United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) grant awarded in Benzie County today may create between 25 and 50 jobs, reports 9 and 10 News.

The grant will be used to upgrade the village of Honor's sewage system and improve groundwater quality. The village's current waste lifts have been used for about 40 years, and this grant will fund new pumps, basic controls and some electrical plans, according to 9 and 10 News.

The Northern Michigan village plans to begin the improvements this spring.

No Worker Left Behind, is it the right choice for you?

Are you unemployed in Michigan?

If your answer is yes, then the state of Michigan may have a solution for you.

Roughly 110,00 Michigan residents have returned to school for further job training through Michigan's "No Worker Left Behind" (NWLB) program, reports a Fox News blog. Of the program's graduates, 72 percent have found work in their new careers.

The program, which began two years ago, offers up to $10,000-worth of tuition for two years of education at a community college, university or other approved training program.

As Michigan jobs are transitioning away from manufacturing to more computerized professions, more and more workers statewide are taking advantage of this program. A Fox News blogger reports the waiting list already has reached 16,000 hopeful participants.

Enrolling 100,000 residents by November 2009 - 10 months earlier than expected - the NWLB program has exceeded initial expectations, and the Great Lakes state has acquired emergency grants to keep the program alive and assisting Michigan's workforce.

Michigan residents who are unemployed, have received a termination or layoff notice, or have a family income of less than $40,000 qualify for the program. Receiving unemployment benefits does not disqualify residents from enrolling.

To apply, residents should visit their local Michigan Works! Agency. To find your nearest Michigan Works! location, click this link: or call 1-800-285-WORK (9675).

The first steps include attending a NWLB orientation and completing various assessments.

With career and course advising and financial aid eligibility, program participants can receive a post-secondary certificate or degree for their desired field.

Training programs that qualify for NWLB are generally entrepreneurial, in high demand or emerging sector occupations, such as many professions in the alternative and renewable energy industry. High demand occupations vary across the state, so potential participants should look at the NWLB web page,,1607,7-242-47890---,00.html, to find which jobs are needed in their area.

Upon completion of secondary-education training, the NWLB program offers job placement counseling, resume building assistance and a job search through the Michigan Talent Bank.

For more information about the "No Worker Left Behind" program, visit

Are 800,000 Great Lakes jobs at risk?

Asian carp are invading the Great Lakes, jeopardizing the health of native Great Lakes species and 800,000 Michigan jobs, says Attorney General Mike Cox.

The Associated Press reports Cox along with the attorneys general of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Ohio sent a joint letter to President Obama. The letter sent Monday requests a White House meeting to discuss preventing the Asian carp from further invasion.

The attorneys general hope talks will lead to the closure of some Chicago locks, which could prevent the spread of Asian carps.

However, the White House refuses to close the locks, reports because in court papers the White House explained this could endanger public safety and disrupt local commerce. The closure would likely disrupt Coast Guard operations in the Chicago area.

Additionally, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has said closing the Chicago locks could harm the Chicago-area economy, as reported by

Salmon Unlimited, an Illinois not-for-profit organization representing sport fishing interests in southern Lake Michigan and its tributaries, supports the closing of the locks. In a statement reported in a Chicago Sun Times blog, the organization states, “At risk is a $7.5 billion sport fishing industry located in the Great Lakes, and according to the biologists, the fish are now beyond the locks. It is our opinions that immediate action is required and closing the locks will not only slow the progress of the Asian carp, but will also increase the urgency of our government to decide on a more encompassing solution.”

Lansing hospital cutting jobs

Lansing — Although it’s unclear which and how many positions will be affected, cuts will be made at Ingham Regional Medical Center.

Beginning next week, the Lansing hospital will announce organizational changes, including changes in work schedules, to reduce costs without eliminating jobs.

Also, WILX News 10 reports the hospital’s president and CEO said in a statement Tuesday, “Unfortunately, we will also be forced to reduce our workforce in some areas.”

Hospital officials have not confirmed how many employees will be laid off as plans are still being finalized, but a hospital spokeswoman said the number of job losses will be announced early next week, according to WILX News 10.

Tax credits bring 5,000 jobs to Michigan

More than 5,000 jobs are coming to Michigan, reported WXYZ after a series of companies took advantage of tax incentives.

Crain’s Detroit Business reports an estimated 1,100 jobs were created or retained by the six Southeast Michigan projects, and eight statewide projects represent more than $76.8 million in investments and created 2,581 jobs. Incentives for the eight projects were granted Tuesday by the Michigan Economic Growth Authority.

Companies taking part in the initiative include:

  • Axel Tech LLC, which received approval for a $5.4 million project to consolidate four Michigan and Illinois operations into a new Troy location. The $1 million tax credit will retain an estimated 107 jobs.
  • BioDri, an alternative energy products manufacturer, which is planning a facility in Blissfield.
  • Colwell & Salmon Communications, a provider of inbound and outbound teleservices, which plans to expand its Livonia call center. The company received a $1.3 million tax credit, plans to create 502 jobs and is also considering a property tax abatement for expansion.
  • ilumisys Inc., a spin-off of Altair Engineering, which received a $4 million tax credit to expand research and development of LED (light emitting diode) technology and create 213 jobs, as reported by the Oakland Press. The company also plans to move into a new Troy location, which will become its research and manufacturing center.
  • Magneti Marelli Holding USA, a Fiat Holdings subsidiary, which plans to consolidate four Oakland County operations into one expanded Auburn Hills facility. The $4.5 million investment project was granted a $4 million tax credit and will create 200 jobs.
  • Oak Wyandotte LLC, which proposed a project to demolish an abandoned facility and construct a new commercial building for retail and restaurant usage. The $1 million redevelopment project received a $118,750 tax credit and will create up to 15 jobs.
  • Quality Metalcraft Inc., which was approved for a $1.7 million project in Livonia to design and manufacture aerodynamic fairings for tractor-trailer systems. It was granted $455,648 in tax credits and expects to add 64 jobs.
  • Tata Consultancy Services
Gov. Jennifer Granholm stated Tuesday, “The scope of these projects demonstrate that Michigan has exactly what companies are looking for as they choose where to locate and grow their business — an aggressive economic growth strategy, a competitive business climate, innovative economic development tools and an outstanding workforce. If companies are looking to invest and create jobs, we want them to know that Michigan is a great state to do business.”

Michigan receives nearly $6 million for green jobs

Lansing — Michigan was awarded a $5,819,999 federal grant to train 1,000 Michigan residents and place them in green jobs announced Gov. Jennifer Granholm earlier this week.

“This investment will train a thousand Michigan workers for green, in-demand jobs in our state,” Granholm stated in a press release. “These workers will be involved in the fields of advanced battery production, solar energy and energy-efficient building construction.”

This State Energy Sector Partnership Training grant will provide resources to Granholm’s Green Jobs Initiative as well as funding three regional project teams in the following areas:

1. Advanced Energy Storage: A $1.36 billion U.S. Department of Energy grant will be used to create an Advanced Battery Skills Alliance in Southeast Michigan. The alliance will provide undergraduate and graduate-level training and work placement assistance in the advanced energy storage field. Possible occupations include engineers, assemblers, technologists and technicians.

2. Solar Energy: A solar project team in Southeast Michigan and another team in Mid-Michigan will assist in training chemical process technicians, solar engineering technicians and installers.

3. Energy Efficient Construction: A Flint-area energy efficient construction team will train workers for Green Construction and Sustainable Construction certificates, an Associates degree and/or trade apprenticeship opportunities.

“Michigan has been at the forefront nationally in the effort to promote a new clean energy economy and programs leading to good jobs,” stated Stanley Pruss, director of the Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth, in a state press release.

“This award will connect Michigan workers to jobs and career pathways in targeted industries, helping to simultaneously advance the State's integrated energy, workforce and economic development vision and supporting programs,” Pruss said.

Green careers span a range of professions and industries, including the automotive industry, agriculture, building and construction, natural resource conservation, energy production and research and design industries.

To apply for green job training, Michigan’s No Worker Left Behind program recommends visiting your local Michigan Works! Agency.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Spartan Stores to move Plymouth jobs to Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids — Spartan Stores, Inc. — the 11th largest grocery supplier and retailer nationwide — announced this morning the company has reached an agreement with Teamsters Local 337 for transitioning its Plymouth, Mich. operations to Grand Rapids.

The Grand Rapids-based grocer announced plans to move the Plymouth dry grocery operations to Grand Rapids earlier this month, as reported by WWZM 13.

The relocation should be complete by the 4th quarter of the 2010 fiscal year.

According to WWZM 13, the Plymouth employees will have employment opportunities at the Grand Rapids facility.

According to the Spartan Stores Web Site,, the company hires associates who demonstrate individual strengths, enjoy challenges and seek opportunity.

To apply for retail or warehouse positions at Spartan Stores, job hunters can apply using an in-store kiosk.

To apply for a corporate position, job seekers should apply online at the company’s Web Site. A resume is required to apply for corporate positions.

Spartan Stores owns and operates 96 grocery stores and drugstores throughout Michigan and Ohio, including D & W Fresh Markets, Family Fare Supermarkets, Felpausch Food Centers, Glen’s Markets and VG’s Food and Pharmacy.

Southwest Michigan ambulance service merger to create jobs

Kalamazoo — A merger between Pride Care Ambulance and Coloma EMS (CEMS Medical Transport) may create new jobs, reports the South Bend Tribune.

The new Kalamazoo-based company—Pride Care—will become the largest ambulance provider in southwest Michigan and will serve Van Buren, Barry and Kalamazoo counties.

Brian Balow, Pride Care chairman and chief executive, told the South Bend Tribune there will not be changes at the top management and supervisory levels.

However, he did say the company plans to hire additional emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics.

Plans for the two companies to merge were finalized Jan. 15, after an 18-month exploratory phase.

Welcome, job hunters!

Needless to say, Michigan is struggling. Our state reached an unemployment rate of 14.6 percent last month— roughly 4 percent higher than the nationwide rate.

We also live in a time when advances in technology, job out-sourcing and the worst economic recession in decades are constantly changing our career paths.

The daily newspaper reporter now also serves as a blogger, photographer and copy editor. Big Three auto workers find themselves back at the local community college learning new skill sets. Recent college graduates and experienced, laid-off workers man retail and food service positions, which were once traditionally reserved as "after-school jobs" for teenagers.

Yes, it’s a time of struggle. And it’s a time of change.

But it is also a time for growth— as a state, as an economy and as individuals.

Together, as a community here at The Michigan Job Hunt, we can share our journey as job seekers and as Michiganders. With news of job creation sprinkled with career advice, I hope you find this blog useful in your own hunt for the perfect job… or at least, the one that pays the bills.

- The Michigan Job Gal -