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Speedier tax cut for car buyers OK’d by Michigan Senate

Michigan senators have voted to more quickly phase in a tax break for people who trade in their car for a new one. A 2013 law lets buyers subtract some of the value of their trade-in from the purchase price of a new vehicle for tax purposes. The change is being phased in until 2039. The Republican-controlled Senate unanimously approved …

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Downtown Kalamazoo cafe hires ex-offenders

A new coffee shop and cafe in downtown Kalamazoo is almost completely staffed by ex-offenders as part of a culinary arts program at Kalamazoo Probation Enhancement Program. The Walnut & Park Cafe officially opened last week. The shop serves coffees ground by the Water Street Coffee Roaster along with homemade baked goods, breakfast and lunch dishes. Program graduates earn certifications …

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Michigan jobless rate edges up to 5.2 percent in January

Michigan’s unemployment rate edged upward to 5.2 percent in January as the number of people entering the job market continued to grow. The Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget said Thursday the rate rose from 5.1 percent in December and compared with a national January jobless rate of 4.8 percent but still marked an improvement over Michigan’s year-ago rate …

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Unemployment decreases in St. Joseph County

The December unemployment rate in St. Joseph County decreased by half a percent compared to a month earlier. The monthly labor-market analysis by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget showed St. Joseph County’s 3.4 percent December unemployment rate was less than November’s 3.9 percent. However, December’s unemployment rate was three-tenths of a percent higher than the same month …

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Michigan boosts minimum wage to $8.90 an hour

Michigan workers who make the minimum wage are getting a 40-cents-an-hour raise. The state hourly minimum rose from $8.50 to $8.90 on Sunday, the second straight yearly increase under a 2014 law that gradually raised the wage by 25 percent. Here’s a look at how Michigan’s minimum stacks up nationally and at other components of the wage boost: — THE …

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RV industry makes comeback in Elkhart County

The recreational vehicle industry, which drives the economy of Elkhart County in northern Indiana, came back strong in 2016 and industry leaders are optimistic about next year. The Elkhart Truth reports unemployment peaked in Elkhart County at 19.6 percent in 2009 as the RV industry was shedding jobs and struggling to stay afloat during the Great Recession. The industry has …

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