Nearly 50 Percent of Detroit’s Working-Age Population Is Unemployed

Jonathan Oosting,, December 16, 2009

The unemployment rate in Detroit fell slightly last month to 27 percent, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

But that official figure may not tell the whole story.

The Detroit News, using a broader definition of unemployment, reports that as many as 45 percent of the working-age Detroiters are without full-time employment.

That estimate–which includes part-timers who want full-time work and those who have given up looking–backs up a statement made by Mayor Dave Bing at last week’s White House Job Summit.

“Michigan’s unemployment rate is 15 percent; Detroit is 30 percent reported but in reality it’s probably close to 50 percent,” Bing told a group as he pitched for aid.


As’s Sven Gustafson reported in September, Michigan’s nation-leading unemployment rate would be much worse if it included those who gave up and stopped looking for jobs.



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