Aug 17, 2:56 PM EDT

Michigan unemployment rate dips to 4.5 percent in July


LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- 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.

Gov. Rick Snyder says in a statement the creation of 475,000 private sector jobs in the past 5 years is "something to be proud of," but adds "demanding challenges remain."

The U.S. jobless rate was unchanged at 4.9 percent in July.

© 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.