Michigan’s unemployment rate ticked up by eight-tenths of a percentage point last month to 6.9%.
This is the first time since April the state has reported an increase in lost jobs.
Michigan State University Professor Charles Ballard is an expert on the state’s economy. He says the numbers show COVID-19’s effect on jobs.
“We had these horrendous job losses in April, and then fairly significant gains in May and June, but after that the gains in employment continued, but they got slower and slower and slower and slower, and then slowed to a crawl, and now they’ve completely come to an end,” he says.
Ballard says the infusion of money from the spring COVID-relief funds has run its course.
“Its stimulative effect is gone now, and we’re having this huge surge of COVID infections, hospitalizations, and deaths. And I think those two things have combined to bring the economic recovery pretty much to a halt,” says Ballard.
Ballard says COVID-19-related shutdowns don’t explain all the job losses.
He says there’s also a loss in confidence that it’s safe to return to work in businesses that are open. That’s also been a complaint from health care workers.
Ballard says another round of state and federal COVID-19 relief for workers and small businesses could help while the new vaccines are distributed.