Detroit News: Marick Masters on the increase of Detroit's workforce in September

More Detroit residents went to work in September than any point this decade, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. And nearly 2,500 more Detroiters were employed in September than in August. The statistics are the latest in a string of economic improvements for the city, though unemployment in Detroit still hadn't recovered from pre-Great Recession numbers. Preliminary figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed unemployment in Detroit at 7.9 percent and that more than 228,700 people were working. That’s an increase of nearly 2,457 over August when the jobless rate was 9.2 percent. Detroit’s unemployment rate was 28.9 percent in June 2009. Michigan’s unemployment rate was 4 percent in September. The U.S. unemployment rate is about 3.7 percent. Marick Masters, a business professor at Wayne State University and director of its labor program, said to decrease poverty, the city needs to decrease the number of those who are not participating in the workforce. This, he said, can be expensive and requires greater outreach efforts and mentorship, better access to transportation, improving schools and changing laws to make it easier for ex-offenders to be hired. "I think there's room for improvement in Detroit," Masters said. "This will require a lot of targeted effort and positive economic growth generally. It needs a combination of both." Masters said the most effective programs appear to be those that take a holistic approach of providing training with a guaranteed job afterward and that also may assist with daycare and transportation.

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