Michigan has the second highest unemployment rate among the states, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The state’s rate increased from just 4.0% in March to 23.8% in April, the highest level on these records that go back to 1976.
Unemployment is up across the country, but Michigan has been hit harder than most other states. The unemployment rate for the U.S. increased from 4.5% to 14.4%.
Differences in the unemployment rate also mask some of the losses in Michigan because the state had more people drop out of the labor force than the U.S. as a whole. Michigan’s labor force — the number of people employed or looking for work — fell 6.6% in the month, compared to 4.1% nationally.
Michigan’s losses may be because its industrial makeup was more susceptible to decisions to close large parts of society. Or it may be because Gov. Whitmer’s shutdown orders affected more people in this state than similar orders affected Americans in other states.
These losses should reinforce the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic is causing a lot of harm in addition to the people infected with the virus.
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