November 19, 2008 / 5:37 PM / 11 years ago

Michigan jobless rate hits 16-year high at 9.3 percent

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Michigan’s unemployment rate in October rose to 9.3 percent — a 16-year high — as the home of the beleaguered U.S. auto industry continued to shed manufacturing jobs, the state reported on Wednesday.

The new report comes as top executives from Detroit auto giants General Motors Corp, Ford Motor Company and Chrysler LLC testify before Congress for a second day on Wednesday, pleading for federal bailout money to stave off bankruptcy.

The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose from 8.7 percent in September and was well above the 7.5 percent rate recorded in October 2007, the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth said.

The national U.S. unemployment rate hit 6.5 percent in October — its highest since March 1994.

Michigan’s jobless rate last hit 9.3 percent in July 1992, said Bruce Weaver, the department’s economic analyst.

While the state’s job losses over the month were varied, Weaver said Michigan has lost 30,000 manufacturing jobs, including those in automotive industries, since October 2007.

Reporting by Karen Pierog; editing by Gary Crosse

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