The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, July 12, 2019

News Briefs

By The Building Tradesman

New website set up for jobless agency

LANSING - The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency has launched a "new and improved" website to provide a more user-friendly experience for customers, the agency reported July 1.

The redesigned website at features a brand-new look, mobile-friendly pages and streamlined content.

The UIA said "feedback from customers and staff were instrumental in shaping the new website and highlighting those sections that are most useful to visitors." 

The home page now features three main sections - I am a Claimant; I am an Employer, and Tools and Resources. By clicking the I Am a Claimant, or I Am an Employer panel, customers can more easily access information of most interest to them. 

The site contains fact sheets, forms and FAQs, reorganized so they will be easier to find. Users will also find one of the most clicked on links, the Michigan Web Account Manager (MiWAM), is more prominently featured and is easier to find on the home page. 

"The website redesign is part of UIA’s efforts to continuously improve customer service," said Steve Gray director of the Unemployment Insurance Agency. "We hope users find it easier to navigate so they can get the information they’re looking for quickly and efficiently."

U.S. employment numbers rebound

For this month, at least, we'll put aside fears that the nation's economy is slowing.

The federal employment report issued July 5 said that the U.S. economy added 224,000 jobs in June, with numbers significantly higher than May's eye-catching, and disappointing, growth of 75,000 jobs. So far this year, job gains each month have averaged 172,000 per month, compared with an average monthly gain of 223,000 in 2018.

"While job growth in May and February of this year was well below trend, strong June job growth is a sign that the economy is not in slowdown as it continues to approach full employment," said Valerie Wilson of the labor-backed Economic Policy Institute.  

The unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 3.7 percent, while the overall labor force participation rate and the share of the population with a job were also relatively unchanged from May.

"On the whole," the EPI said, "the household survey suggests an economy that is holding steady, while the payroll survey shows strong job gains over the last month."

Wage hikes among American workers have been more problematic. So far during the course of this year wage growth has come in at 3.1 percent. That's consistent with May's level, but "there has been a distinct leveling off in wage growth in recent months," the EPI said. "While June’s 3.1 percent growth rate is higher than the slow rate we saw earlier in the recovery, it is still below the rate we’d expect to see in a strong economy. To be at genuine full employment, wage growth would have to be at least 3.5 percent, and for a consistent period of time...."

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which released the numbers, construction employment continued to trend up in June (+21,000), in line with its average monthly gain over the prior 12 months.