Michigan employment numbers pick up pace for state’s pandemic recovery


A Ferndale restaurant's sign blames Michigan's unemployment on the "stimmy" federal pandemic relief checks. - LEE DEVITO
  • Lee DeVito
  • A Ferndale restaurant's sign blames Michigan's unemployment on the "stimmy" federal pandemic relief checks.

Michigan’s recovery from the massive unemployment endured during the COVID-19 pandemic is among the fastest in the country, last week’s employment numbers indicate.

That assessment is according to a recently released WalletHub report, which ranked the state fifth nationwide for progress made between the previous week and the week of June 21, 2021, and fourth nationwide for the smallest increase in initial unemployment claims between the beginning of 2020 and the week of June 21, 2021.

Michigan was ranked 13th nationwide for quickest unemployment recovery since the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020.

On average, unemployment claims recovery in those states designated Red – based on how the majority of residents voted in the 2020 presidential election – fared better the so-called Blue states. On average, Red states ranked at 21.92 quickest and Blue states ranked 29.92 quickest.

The report compared the number of initial unemployment claims for the week ending June 24, 2019 and the week ending June 21, 2021, and noted a 15.66% drop. WalletHub also noted a 56% drop in Michigan’s initial unemployment claims since the beginning of 2021 and a whopping 84.83% decline in the state’s initial unemployment claims between June 2020 and June 2021.

Although Michigan’s overall rankings are impressive, WalletHub released another study ranking Grand Rapids and Detroit far below other U.S. cities for bouncing back from massive unemployment. Grand Rapids was ranked an overall 96th in the nation for quickest recovery and Detroit earned a berth at 142nd overall. According to data from May 2021, unemployment in Grand Rapids was 6.5% and 10.2% in Detroit.

The top four states with unemployment claims recovering more quickly than Michigan are, in order: South Carolina, Kansas, Vermont, and Arkansas. Those states slowest to recover from unemployment caused by the pandemic are, in order: New Mexico, Rhode Island, District of Columbia, Virginia, and Oklahoma.

The national unemployment rate rose to 14.8% at the height of the pandemic, but has since dropped 61% to its current level of 5.8%.

This story was originally published by The Center Square. It is republished here with permission.

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