by Bruce Walker
Amid signs that at least a partial reopening of Michigan’s economy could take place this month, the state’s weekly unemployment claim filings continued to drift back toward normalcy, although they remain far above numbers seen before the COVID-19 crisis.
The U.S. Department of Labor reported Thursday morning that another 68,952 Michigan residents filed for jobless benefits during the week ending May 2. That brings the state’s total unemployment filing number over the course of the past seven weeks to about 1.2 million, which represents more than one quarter of Michigan’s workforce.
The latest numbers are a 16 percent decline from the previous week, but still well above the 3.6 percent unemployment claims the state recorded for the week ending March 14, the last before widespread shutdowns across the country began to drive a surge in business closures and layoffs.
Nationally, about 3.2 million people filed for unemployment, bringing the seven-week total across the United States to more than 33 million. As some states have already begun to reopen, some businesses have reopened and individuals who filed for unemployment early in the crisis may already have returned to work or will do so in the coming weeks.
California led all states with 318,000 claims, and Maine had the biggest percent jump in claims with a 111 percent rise from the prior week. On the other end of the spectrum, Alabama had a 62 percent decline in claims, the biggest drop from the previous week.
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Bruce Walker is a regional editor at The Center Square. He previously worked as editor at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy’s Michigan Science magazine and The Heartland Institute’s InfoTech & Telecom News.