Michigan Unemployment Claims Down to Pre-Pandemic Levels

The US Department of Labor reported Thursday the number of unemployment claims has dipped down to pre-pandemic numbers.

This is a good sign for the strength of the economy but maybe not as much as hoped.

Last week, Michigan had just over 10,000 unemployment claims filed, they haven’t been that low since before COVID hit the state.04 23 20 Unemployment Help Pkg 6

In fact, this time last year, Michigan had nearly 400,000 unemployment claims each week. This information can be seen in two ways. First as a good sign.

“Most people have been called back if they were laid off from the pandemic,” said Shelly Keene, executive director of Michigan Works West Central.

And second as not much of a true indicator of the state’s job market.

“There are limits to the weeks that you can claim unemployment,” said Keene, “I believe since many people started almost a year ago, that they exhausted their benefits.”

Those who filed long ago, may still be unemployed and aren’t able to reapply.

Michigan Works says one good sign of a rebounding economy is the number of openings they are working to fill.

“I would say that the manufacturing sector and the food and ag are steady,” said Keene.

As the state slowly recovers, some of the pandemic benefits with the unemployment system expired this week. Michiganders can no longer receive benefits while forced to quarantine or care for a loved one who’s sick. Filers now only have two weeks to file once you lose their job, not the four weeks they’ve had the past year.

Michigan Works says there are enough open jobs to spare Michiganders from filing.

“We’re far enough along they’ve been able to adapt to the workplace to meet all the proper protocols and safety procedures,” said Keene, “To ensure that their employees are safe.”