States Find Out How Hard It Is To Get People Back To Work

in the case of unemployment rates in the Great Lakes states, headlines do not tell the full story. 

This week, we heard that Michigan’s unemployment rate dropped to 8.8 percent, within shouting distance of the national unemployment rate, and way down from the 14 percent territory it reached during the worst of the recession.

Meanwhile, Wisconsin’s rate held steady at 6.9 percent for the second straight month, and it’s down from 9.2 percent in June 2009.

But behind the Michigan numbers lies a paradox: the state has 409,000 people out of work, but there are 76,000 job openings that can’t be filled. Gov. Rick Snyder talked about this on Wednesday at a town hall in Detroit, urging job seekers to register with the state’s talent bank.

And in Wisconsin, the unemployment rate actually rose in 27 cities whose population was more than 25,000, and in 66 counties.

The highest unemployment rate in Wisconsin is in Beloit, where 12.5 percent of working adults did not have jobs. Unemployment also is high in Door County, a vacation region, where 13.8 percent are out of work.

So, unemployment continues to be an issue in our region. Changing Gears has been looking at retraining and how to measure its success.

Have you gone through a retraining program, or gone back to school so that you can start a new career? Was it what you needed? Take our survey and help us cover the story.