According to data released by the Michigan Office of Labor Market Information today, the state’s unemployment rate dropped by 0.7 percentage points from 12.4 percent in November 2010 to 11.7 percent in December 2010. This is a record for this data series that began in 1976.

The state’s drop was caused largely by a decrease in the number of people looking for work. The state’s labor force decreased by 37,000 people and the number of workers increased by 5,000.

The last record was set in September 1983, when the state’s unemployment rate decreased by 0.5 percentage points, falling from 14.1 percent to 13.6 percent.

In the 1983 decrease, the state added 17,847 jobs and slightly increased the labor force.

As a note of caution, the December release is preliminary and may be subject to change later.