Michigan’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate hit 22.7% in April during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to data released Wednesday by the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget (DTMB).
The unemployment rate was 4.3% in March, so that’s a startling rise of 18.4 percentage points in a month. Employment in Michigan plunged by 1.1 million while the number of unemployed grew by 839,000. That’s a net labor force drop of 291,000 over the month.
Michigan’s April unemployment rate is the highest rate since at least 1976 (as far back as comparable estimates go), per DTMB, likely making it an all-time high. The previous high rate over this period was 16.5% in December 1982.
“April’s historic unemployment rate and job declines reflected the first full month of the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the state’s labor market,” said Jason Palmer, director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives. “Job losses were widespread across all industry sectors, with especially large employment reductions in leisure and hospitality and manufacturing.”
The number of unemployed in Michigan was 1.04 million, also an all-time high. The previous peak was 725,000 in June 2009. Michigan’s labor force level fell by 291,000 in April. This dropped the state workforce in one month down to 1991 levels.
The national unemployment spiked by 10.3 percentage points in April to 14.7%. Michigan’s rate is 8 percentage points above the U.S. rate.
At last week’s Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference at the state Capitol, University of Michigan economists forecasted 22% unemployment and said that Michigan’s rate was worse than the national rate due to the cyclical nature of the domestic auto industry and that COVID-19 hit Michigan particularly hard. Economists predicted that the jobless rate was not likely not return to pre-2020 unemployment rate levels until after 2022.