In another devastating blow to the state's already fragile economy, the Unemployment Insurance Agency of the state of Michigan permanently shuttered its nine branch offices Monday, leaving more than 8,500 unemployment employees unemployed.
Announcing the closings at a press conference, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm called them "a tragic coda" to a once-vibrant industry that until this week defined the Michigan economy and served almost one-fifth of the state's employable population.
"This is a sad day for the people of Michigan," Granholm said to a crowd of part-time reporters and former assembly-line workers Tuesday. "Our state has a long, hallowed history of unemployment, and with these closings, we have lost a vital part of our economic and social fabric."