After becoming synonymous with the fading industrial might of U.S. automakers and other "rust belt" troubles in the 1980s, Michigan's jobless rate dipped to 4.5% in June, the lowest level since the state began estimating the rate in 1970 and well below the U.S. average of 5.3%. Michigan's unemployment rate has been below the national level for 30 straight months. Prior to that, the jobless rate in the state was higher than the national average for 192 consecutive months.