Unemployment likely rising in 11 states, including Michigan

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With new jobless claims still coming in at almost 1 million a week, states are struggling to cushion the loss of the $600 federal COVID-19 supplemental pay that expired in July.

Some states appear headed for higher unemployment than the official July figures released last week, according to a Stateline analysis of jobless claims data released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Labor.

Eleven states and the District of Columbia had a higher share of workers on unemployment benefits last week than the official July unemployment rate: California, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, Texas and Vermont.

For instance, 18.3% of Hawaii’s labor force was on unemployment benefits as of mid-August, compared with a 13.1% unemployment rate in July. Hawaii officials had predicted higher unemployment because of more coronavirus cases and fewer visitors than usual.

Georgia had an 11% share of its workforce on benefits compared with the 7.6% July unemployment rate; for Louisiana, the numbers were12.1% versus 9.4%.

Michigan’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in July was 8.7%, according to the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget. The June rate was 14.8%. The national jobless rate is higher than Michigan’s for July at 10.2%.

Thirty-five states, including Michigan, have enrolled in President Donald Trump’s program to give another $300 weekly to workers. Others including Florida and Oregon plan to join.

Almost 1M Michiganders will get a boost in jobless benefits

The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) estimates that about 910,000 Michiganders will receive at least $300 per week in supplemental benefits. The program allows for existing Unemployment Trust Fund payments delivered by Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance to count as 25% matching funds required for participation. Eligible claimants will be paid benefits retroactive to Aug. 1.

Those benefits would last three weeks from Aug. 1 unless the program is extended, or Congress acts on a new weekly benefit.

Only six states already have started paying the benefit, according to the tracking site UnemploymentPUA.com: Arizona, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Tennessee and Texas.

To qualify, states must provide at least $100 in weekly benefits to workers, but states can count money they already are providing in benefits. States have an option of kicking in another $100 weekly for workers but only Kentucky, Montana and West Virginia have done so.

This story is from our partners at Stateline, an initiative of The Pew Charitable Trusts. The Advance contributed reporting. Read the story here.

Tim Henderson
Tim Henderson covers demographics for Stateline. He has been a reporter at the Miami Herald, the Cincinnati Enquirer and The Journal News in suburban New York. Henderson became fascinated with census data in the early 1990s, when AOL offered the first computerized reports. Since then he has broken stories about population trends in South Florida, including a housing affordability analysis included in the 2007 Pulitzer-winning series "House of Lies" for the Miami Herald, and a prize-winning analysis of public pension irregularities for The Journal News. He has been a member and trainer for the National Institute for Computer-Assisted Reporting since its inception 20 years ago, specializing in online data access and visualization along with demographics.