(03/14/13) - The U.S. Labor Department says fewer Americans sought unemployment aid last week, reducing the average number of weekly applications last month to a five-year low.
Inside Michigan works, you'll find dozens of people everyday looking for work.
While first time unemployment applications dropped to a new low this week, Kenyan Howard is a reminder that there are many who have been without work for months even years. Howard got laid off at Flint Truck Assembly a year and a half ago.
"It's very hard because I don't have a degree, so it's super hard right now," she said.
The key to her future success will be getting retrained for the new manufacturing industry.
Officials at Michigan Works are keeping a close eye on the unemployment statistics.
"There are skills gap and we're doing all we can through the Michigan Works agency to help address those gaps and narrow them so individuals can be hired," said Craig Coney, Michigan Works president & CEO.
Here's a closer look at the numbers.
January figures show the national unemployment rate at 7.9 percent. Michigan is 1 percentage point higher.
Genesee County even higher, according to the most recent data. Flint sits at 16 percent, down just slightly from a year ago.
But Coney says the outlook is getting better every month.
"Yes it is high, but at one point it was 25 percent or higher, so it is coming down and people are recognizing now and understanding that they need to get additional training to be a viable candidate for positions that are opened," he said.
Michigan works has launched a couple new programs to better train those candidates. To learn more, click HERE. http://michiganworks.org/agencies/agency/180/
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