The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, August 04, 2017

News Briefs

By The Building Tradesman

17-year low for MI jobless rate

LANSING - Michigan's unemployment rate dropped to 3.8 percent in June, the state's lowest jobless rate since 2000, the state announced July 19.

The .4 percent drop in the jobless rate brought the rate to a full percentage point below the state’s June 2016 rate of 4.8 percent. The U.S. jobless rate edged up by one-tenth of a percentage point to 4.4 percent in June.

“Not only is statewide unemployment once again below the national average – it’s Michigan’s lowest rate recorded since August 2000," said Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder. "This is another exciting step on the path toward our future as Michigan’s reinvention continues. We’re going to keep that momentum going now as we continue to build and educate our workforce and create more and better jobs.”

Michigan's .4 percentage point unemployment rate drop in June tied Tennessee for the nation's largest decline. Our state was ranked No. 20 among the states in jobless rankings. The lowest unemployment rates in June were in Colorado and North Dakota,  with 2.3 percent each.

Alaska had the highest jobless rate, 6.8 percent, followed by New Mexico, 6.4 percent. In total, 19 states had unemployment rates noticeably lower than the U.S. figure of 4.4 percent.

Project 'Tim' would be a big job creator

Michigan may have lost out to Wisconsin last week on the construction of a potential $10 billion Foxconn Technology Group electronics display panel plant, but a pretty good consolation prize may be in the offing.

“Project Tim,” an under-the-radar, $4.5 billion project, is said to have its sights set on building a 24-million square-foot plant in Durand, a community along I-69 between Flint and Lansing. The building is rumored to be what would be the cleanest steel plant in the world that would also generate electricity.

According to the news service MIRS, “the Durand City Council heard a presentation written by the Durand City Manager (July 17) explaining what information is available to the public about the project without specifying what exactly the economic development is or who is behind it. The presentation attributes Project Tim to “a small group of globally leading companies and experts.”

MIRS said the nature of the project is being kept secret while the developers work to assemble an 800-acre parcel needed for the plant. The deal is not done, and Ohio is apparently still in the mix for winning the project. 

The council presentation said the plant, 6,200 feet by 3,900 feet, would require 10.5 million construction work hours to build. It would be located in Durand and Vernon Twp., on a site with rail and highway access, as well as close proximity to high voltage lines.

The City of Durand said in a release that “Project Tim” is “a designated renewal energy development named after an individual project team member. The developers are now in the later stages of due diligence and financial review. Significant public considerations/approvals still need to take place before any development occurs.”