Pixabay | CC BY 2.0 /

Michigan's workplace safety agency plans to step up unannounced inspections of demolition sites around the state to ensure workers are properly protected against hazards such as exposure to asbestos.

The Detroit Free Press reports the Michigan Occupational Health and Safety Administration says the one-year initiative was prompted in part by the newspaper's investigation that concluded that the agency rarely gets tough with employers who exposed workers to asbestos. | CC BY 2.0

Michigan's jobless rate dipped to 4.5 percent in July, a slight drop from the previous month and lowest in 15 years.

The state said Wednesday it's the lowest rate since January 2001's 4.4 percent, but officials say it corresponds with a significant drop in labor force and employment levels.

Total employment fell by 20,000, while the number of unemployed fell by 8,000.

The Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives says Michigan's unemployment rate has incrementally dropped this year, following a mostly decreasing trend since July 2009.

Pixabay | CC BY 2.0 /

Michigan’s monthly job rate has dropped slightly to 4.6 percent.

But it’s not because more people are working.

The one-tenth of a percentage point is because of a shrinking number of people competing for jobs.

The shift in the jobless rate is slight. But it is the second month in a row that the unemployment rate has dropped because the workforce got smaller.

Dave Dugdale via Wikimedia | CC BY 2.0 /

Yesterday, WGVU took a look at a new labor rule raising overtime eligibility for certain salaried employees. Today, we explore that rule’s potential impact on employees and employers.

“It can potentially mean a pretty good wage increase for quite a few number of people – and that’s really the motivation for the change in the regulation.”

Paul Sicilian is an economics professor at Grand Valley State University, with an emphasis on labor standards. | CC BY 2.0

A new labor rule going into effect later this year opens overtime wage eligibility for some currently-exempt, salaried employees.

“The issue really is the amount of salary it takes to be considered exempt.”

Paul Sicilian is a Grand Valley State University economics professor with a special focus on labor.

Coming into June, the U.S. Department of Labor finalized the rule as part of amendments to the Fair Labor Standards Act - raising overtime exemptions of certain salaried workers from $23,660 to $47,476.

Michigan jobless rate drops to 4.7 percent

Jun 15, 2016 | CC BY 2.0

Michigan’s monthly unemployment rate has dropped to 4.7 percent.

That’s the lowest it’s been in 15 years.

The drop in the monthly rate was not due to more hiring, but the 6,000 people who gave up looking for work. Fewer people competing for jobs reduces the jobless rate.

But Governor Rick Snyder says the overall hiring trend for the state is good.

He says the state’s workforce has grown by roughly 100,000 people since the beginning of the year in hopes of finding a job.

The state says Michigan's monthly unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest point in nearly 15 years.

The Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget said Wednesday the seasonally adjusted jobless rate for January was 4.9 percent. That's down two-tenths of a percentage point from December and 1.1 percentage points below the January 2015 rate.

The state's January unemployment rate matched the nation's for the same period.

A small group of migrant workers in western Michigan has agreed to a $58,000 settlement in a lawsuit that accused a blueberry farm of breaking promises about jobs and housing.

The settlement was recently filed in Grand Rapids federal court.

Eight workers accused Anthony Marr and Blue Star Farms of violating laws that protect migrants who travel from state to state to pick fruit and vegetables.

Marr and Blue Star admitted no liability in the settlement.

The workers say they expected to pick blueberries after leaving Florida for Michigan in summer 2012.