The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, August 87, 2004 - 9A
State unemployment down
due to yearly hiring cycles
LANSING (AP) - Michigan's job
climate improved slightly in August
as automakers and related employers
ended short-term summer layoffs.
The state's seasonally adjusted unem-
ployment rate was 6.7 percent, down
from 6.8 percent in July.
The state had 20,000 more manu-
facturing jobs in August than in July,
according to Department of Labor and
Economic Growth figures released
yesterday. But the rebound was
expected and reflects a typical Michi-
Automakers typically shut down for a
while in July as they retool their assem-
bly lines for the next model year. Many
of those workers were back on the job
Michigan still is suffering the loss of
manufacturing jobs in the long term.
There were about 18,000 fewer manu-
facturing jobs last month than in August
2003, according to state statistics.
The loss of manufacturing jobs has
been one of the main reasons Michigan's
economic recovery has been somewhat
slower than the national average.
"A lot of it has to do with the
composition of the economy," said
East Lansing economist Robert Kle-
ine. "Manufacturing is still pretty
important here, and manufacturing
has been pretty stagnant nation-
Other negative employment trends
emerged from July to August. The state
lost jobs in retail, construction and gov-
Michigan added professional ser-
vice, health service and educational
service jobs in August. Employment
also increased slightly in tourism, hos-
pitality and leisure - a segment that
has been one of Michigan's strongest
was 6.7 percent,
down from 6.8
percent in July.
Overall employment increased by
2,000 jobs in August. There were 8,000
fewer people unemployed in August
than in July.
Michigan's overall labor market
condition remained steady in August,
according to Bruce Weaver, acting
director of the state's Bureau of Labor
Market Information and Strategic Ini-
The state's overall jobs picture has
improved since August 2003, when
Michigan's unemployment rate was 7.5
Attorney general says gay
Fords police car record on trial
BELLEVILLE, Ill. (AP) - Ford
Motor Co. continued to sell Crown Vic-
toria police cars even after the deaths of
several officers in fiery rear-end crashes
showed the vehicles were unsafe, a law-
yer for Illinois police departments told
a jury yesterday in the first class-action
lawsuit to come to trial over the widely
used cruisers' safety.
"That policy of minimizing safety to
maximize profits is at the heart of why
we're here today," said attorney David
Perry, who also showed jurors photos of
the officers who had died.
Ford's lawyers countered that the Crown
Victoria Police Interceptor is safe and that
the cruiser is involved in police crashes
because officers are more likely than other
motorists to travel at high speeds and park
at the sides of highways.
"I don't mean to minimize or trivial-
ize police fatalities," Ford lawyer James
Feeney of Detroit told the jury dur-
ing Ford's opening statement. "But the
question here is whether this car is rea-
sonably safe for police work, and it is."
The trial that opened yesterday in St.
Clair County Circuit Court, 15 miles
east of St. Louis, is the first among class-
action lawsuits pending in 11 states over
the Crown Victoria Police Intercep-
tor, a specially built police cruiser that
accounts for the majority of police cars
on U.S. streets.
Fourteen officers since 1983 have
died in fiery crashes after their Crown
Victorias were rear-ended.
None of those crashes occurred in Illi-
nois, but the St. Clair County Sheriff's
Office and nearby Centreville Police
Departments sued anyway, accusing
Ford of fraud and deceptive trade prac-
tices in a bid to force the company to
retrofit their Crown Victorias with spe-
cial safety equipment.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of
every law-enforcement agency in the
state and seeks to have Ford pay to
install the safest equipment available to
protect the cruisers.
"We can't afford to do it ourselves,"
said St. Clair County Sheriff Mearl Jus-
tus, who attended the morning court
session. The lawsuit accuses Ford of
telling the public the car was safe when
it knew it was not.
Ford's attorney showed jurors a vid-
eotape of a rear-end crash at 100 mph
involving a Crown Victoria that did not
erupt into flames, in a bid to bolster his
claim that the cars ignite only in a small
percentage of accidents that cannot be
"With some of these officers, no vehi-
cle could have saved them," Feeney said.
Ford lawyers have declined to esti-
mate how much losing the case could
cost the company, which is facing
a tough international auto market-
place and still recovering from costly
litigation involving rollovers by its
Mich. couples can't
LANSING (AP)- An attorney gen- disagreed. Cox wrote in his opin
eral's legal opinion that same-sex cou- while same-sex couples cannot
ples married in Massachusetts cannot child in the state, one partner m
adopt a child together in Michigan has as a single person.
angered gay-rights advocates and oth- "In terms of the public polic
ers who said yesterday that it disregards state of Michigan,
children's best interests. the Legislature "t, a
The opinion, written by Attorney has been very Its an
General Mike Cox, said a same-sex clear," Thomp-
marriage performed in another state is son said. Op1lno
invalid in Michigan and therefore pre- Critics say a
cludes that couple from obtaining a joint only a joint are a
adoption here. adoption gives childr
"It's an anti-family opinion," said both parents
Beverly Davidson, president of the equal rights to Who n
Coalition for Adoption Rights Equal- the child and
ity, which supports same-sex adop- allows children homes
tions. "There are a number of children adopted by gay
in our state who need permanent couples the same who c
homes. Limiting who can adopt them financialsecurity is a di
is a disservice." and legal rights
While the Republican attorney gen- guaranteed to
eral's opinion specifically addressed children of mar-
whether the state can recognize same- ried couples. Pres
sex marriages performed in Massa- Jay Kaplan,
chusetts and whether those couples a staff attorney
can adopt children in Michigan, critics for the Michigan
worry that it further cripples gays' rights branch of the American Civil L
and their ability to adopt. Union, said if one partner in s
The state's adoption law is ambigu- couple adopts a child, the other
ous and appellate courts have not defini- would have no legal obligation
tively ruled on the issue, they say. adopted child.
Cox spokesman Randall Thompson "If only one parent can be
en in our state
'an adopt them
- Beverly Davidson
ident, Coalition for Adop-
tion Rights Equality
ay do so
cy of the
recognized, how is that helping the
child?" he said.
State Sen. Bill Hardiman (R-Kent-
wood), who requested the opinion, said
marriage is an institution between one
man and one
woman and only
should be able
"It's not that
I'm against gays,
but I do support
marriage as it
has been defined
in this country,"
divided over the
gay and lesbian
But two years
Liberties ago, Chief Judge Archie Brown banned
ame-sex those adoptions in the courts under his
partner control. Brown said at the time that such
n to the adoptions violated state law, which he
said allows only individuals and mar-
legally ried couples to adopt children.