Initial Unemployment Claims Top 311,000 Following Stay Home, Stay Safe Order

The Workforce Intelligence Network for Southeast Michigan (WIN) is a partnership of community colleges and workforce development boards, known locally as Michigan Works! Agencies (MWAs), in greater southeast Michigan. WIN was established in 2011 to create a comprehensive and cohesive talent development system in the region to ensure workers are prepared for success. The unprecedented coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted every aspect of our lives in southeast Michigan and beyond. Now more than ever, data driven decision making is critical to our region as we navigate the impact of the pandemic and ultimately develop strategies for recovery and revitalization. WIN is committed to providing data and analysis specific to the COVID-19 impact on the greater southeast Michigan region as it becomes available.

For the week ending March 28, 2020, the State of Michigan experienced a new high in initial unemployment insurance claims, with 311,086 initial claims. Due to effects from the COVID-19 pandemic declared by the World Health Organization, the State of Michigan issued a Stay Home, Stay Safe executive order, which took effect on March 24, 2020. Much of the continued rise in initial unemployment insurance claims from the prior week (ending March 21st, with 128,006) is likely related to the closing of non-essential businesses, as required and defined by executive order no. 2020-21. It also continues to reflect the prior executive orders, i.e., to close restaurants, bars, fitness centers, libraries, museums, casinos, and theaters, as well as the closure of all schools and a ban on gatherings larger than 50 people in Michigan. We should continue to expect to see higher than average numbers in the weeks to come.

For contextual purposes, the number of initial claims recorded at the beginning of the Great Recession, during December 2007 (as defined by the National Bureau of Economic Research) was 49,653 in one week. The highest number of initial claims recorded during the Great Recession’s duration was 76,702 in one single week, during January 2009. Thus, the number of initial claims filed during the week of March 28th were 405.6% higher than the peak of unemployment claims during the Great Recession. On average, claims recorded during the Great Recession (between December 2007 and June 2009, as defined by the National Bureau of Economic Research) were 24,780 per week.

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WIN’s data and research team will be continuously monitoring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in southeast Michigan and across the state over the coming weeks and months. Analysis will be posted to www.WINintelligence.org/COVID-19 on a weekly basis. For more information or to connect with WIN on this topic, please contact research@WINintelligence.org.

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