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Why Michigan is In Play

Two stories from today's Detroit News tell the story. First, a combination of declining sales and restructuring costs have the Ford Motor Co. saying it will post close to a $9 billion loss this coming year.

Not surprisingly, the other story is that Michigan's unemployment rate ticked up to 7.1% in August, which is 2.4% higher than the national average. The News ominously reports that, "the tick upward is the start of a new round of climbing unemployment rates that will continue until late 2008, economists say."

UPDATE: A reader emails a good point: my use of the pure difference between Michigan's unemployment and the national average (7.1-4.7 = 2.4) actually understates the case. In percentage terms, Michigan's unemployment is 51% higher than the national average. That's a number that will get voters' attention.