In a very rare occurrence, Michigan’s unemployment rate in February dipped below the U.S. rate.

Michigan’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.8 percent, just below the national average of 4.9 percent. It was only the second time since August 2000 that Michigan had a lower unemployment rate than the U.S. The other time was July 2015 when state unemployment was 5.2 percent. That rate for U.S. was 5.3 percent then.

The state added 36,000 jobs in February; the labor force also increased, by 32,000.

“Michigan is now in the rare place where the job market is tighter than in the nation as a whole,” said James Hohman, the assistant director of fiscal policy for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. “The good economy appears to be pulling people back into the labor force and finding them work.”

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Jim Riley got his own fiscal house in order so he could retire. Now he wonders why his city government can’t do the same for their employees, and taxpayers who could end with huge bills from the unfunded retirement liabilities.

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