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GM plant closings tocost Michigan $1.5 billion and 17,500 jobs

General Motors Corporation's decision to cut 17,450 jobs from its Michigan workforce will deal the state's economy a $1.5 billion blow. The loss threatens to return Michigan's unemployment rate to double digits and may force the state and some cities to tighten their belts.

``Even if those people are transferred, ... it still means production is gone from Michigan, economic activity is gone from Michigan, and it means spending power is taken out of the state's economy,'' said David Verway, director of the Bureau of Business Research in Detroit.

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He estimated that eventually 50,000 jobs could be lost as a result of GM's decision to fully or partly close seven plants in Michigan by 1988.

GM's announcement last week that it was closing two plants each in Flint and Pontiac and three in Detroit came as Michigan was ending its first full year of single-digit unemployment since 1980.

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