Michigan Unemployment Numbers Soar Due to COVID-19

The number of unemployment claims in the state of Michigan has continued to climb as the coronavirus-19 (COVID-19) has caused businesses to shutter in an effort to keep residents safe and to “flatten the curve.” Over the last several weeks Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has issued numerous executive orders forcing the closure of businesses, telling residents to stay home and allowing unemployment benefits to be expanded as a result of the increasing number of claims.

According to the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency there were 83,177 unemployment claims for all counties in Michigan for the week ending March 14, 2020. This number is for all claims, including continued and initial claims. By the following week, the number of unemployment claims increased to 207,048 for the week ending on March 21, 2020. In total, that was a week-over-week increase of about 123,000 claims. 

The three maps below show the total number of unemployment claims by county in Michigan for the weeks that end on March 14, 2020 and March 21, 2020 and the percent change in claims between those two weeks. All maps will show that Wayne County had the highest number of unemployment claims for both weeks at 15,901 and 40,025, respectively. 

The counties with the 10 highest number of unemployment claims in the last few weeks were: 

County Number of Claims Week Ending 3/14/2020 Number of Claims Week Ending 3/21/2020
Wayne County 15,901 40,025
Oakland County 7,810 23,799
Macomb County 7,596 22,542
Kent County 3,544 11,885
Genesee County 3,782 9,443
Washtenaw County 1,343 5,286
Ingham County 1,680 5,219
Ottawa County 1,386 4,666
Saginaw County 1,939 4,499
Kalamazoo County 1,487 4,341

While Wayne County had the highest number of unemployment claims, Washtenaw County had the largest percent change between both weeks at 294 percent (increase of 3,943 claims), followed by Ottawa County at 237 percent (increase of 3,280 claims) and then Kent County at 235 percent (increase of 8,341 claims). In Wayne County there was a percent increase of 152 between the two weeks, which was equivalent to an increase in 24,124 claims. For Oakland County there was a percent increase in unemployment claims of 205 percent (15,989 claims) and for Macomb County the percent increase was 197 percent (14,946 claims). 

With the Stay Home, Stay Safe order being issued by Gov. Whitmer on March 23, 2020 it is likely that unemployment claims in the State of Michigan will continue to increase. According to a recent article from Michigan Radio, the State of Michigan has a $4.6 billion trust fund to pay unemployment benefits and it has assured people that if they file for unemployment benefits they will be paid. 

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