Michigan Outpaces Country In Economic Recovery Thanks to Automotive Industry
When the pandemic hit Michigan and the rest of our country, businesses were shut down and jobs vaporized. The second month of the pandemic, April 2020, Michigan's unemployment rate hit 23.6%. Now in April 2021 it stands at 5.1%. The Michigan Department of Labor reports the lowest number of unemployment claims since the pandemic began, now at just 576,000.
Dr. Brian Long, the director of supply management research for Grand Valley State University’s Seidman College of Business, says automotive manufacturing has led Michigan’s economic revival, while one West Michigan staple is left up in the air. “The other thing that has hurt in this pandemic is the office furniture business,” Long told News 8. “Fourteen percent of the world’s office furniture was made here in West Michigan. Now, I don’t know if that still is or not because we are redefining what the office is. Sales for these industries are down, except for those that are selling to the home office market. Unfortunately many of our local firms weren’t really geared for (that).”
Retail and hospitality are still struggling, but other areas of the economy have rebounded. The pandemic has changed the way so many things are done, and there will be lasting effects in the business world. Many of America's economic experts think the short- and long-term forecasts are very positive. Things are getting better in Michigan, but it’s going to take a couple years before the entire nation returns to unemployment levels around 3.5%, which is where we were before Covid-19.
Hopefully we’ve seen the worst of the job losses in Michigan brought on by all of the shutdowns over the past year. Things are looking up, people are going back to work. The state is aggressively distributing the Covid-19 vaccines, and we’re all still hoping for that semi-normal fourth of July celebration this year.