Published in Economic Development

State details grim economic data from April

BY MIBIZ STAFF Wednesday, May 20, 2020 04:52pm

Michigan’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose sharply to 22.7 percent in April as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, state officials announced today.

The Department of Technology, Management and Budget reports the labor force dropped by 291,000 last month, while the state’s unemployment rate was 8 percentage points higher than the U.S. jobless rate. Last year at this time, the state’s unemployment rate was 4.3 percent, and officials say the latest numbers are likely an all-time high.

“April’s historic unemployment rate and job declines reflected the first full month of the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the state’s labor market,” Jason Palmer, director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives, said in a statement. “Job losses were widespread across all industry sectors, with especially large employment reductions in leisure and hospitality and manufacturing.”

With widespread closures due to COVID-19, particularly for sectors requiring person-to-person contact, the leisure and hospitality industry was hit hardest with 237,000 jobs lost. Manufacturing followed with 174,000 job losses last month, followed by trade, transportation and utilities.

Payroll jobs also dropped last month to the lowest level in Michigan since prior to 1990. The accommodation and food services industries accounted for one in five jobs lost last month.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said the crisis is “unlike anything we’ve seen in our lifetime,” and continued her calls for federal aid to support state and local budgets harmed by loss in income and sales tax revenue.

“Families across the country need help,” Whitmer said in a statement. “We’re counting on the federal government to work together to provide additional flexibility and aid for states like Michigan to continue supporting essential services like health care, education, and police and fire departments. We will get through this together.” 

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