Detroit jobless rate flat around 25% amid pandemic, UM survey says

The Detroit News

About 1 in 4 working-age adults in Detroit is unemployed, and that rate has been relatively unchanged since fall 2020, according to a University of Michigan survey released Monday.

The city's unemployment rate peaked at 48% in June 2020 but was 11% before the COVID-19 pandemic, UM said. The data are from UM's Detroit Metro Area Communities Study.

People wait in line to enter the unemployment office at New Center One in Detroit at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. The city's jobless rate has declined from a peak of 48% in June 2020, according to a survey by the University of Michigan,

Among those currently out of work, 20% are recently unemployed (out of work for five months or less) while 33% have been out of work for six to 11 months. Nearly half (47%) of unemployed Detroiters report being out of work for more than a year.

Black and Latino Detroiters, low-wage earners, residents without college degrees and adults in households with children were more likely to be unemployed than other city residents. Nearly half of Detroit residents in the labor force with household incomes under $30,000 a year report being unemployed, compared with 6% of those with household incomes of $60,000 or more. 

Most jobless Detroiters attribute their unemployment to the pandemic, with 49% saying their workplace closed and 50% saying they were laid off because of COVID-19. Respondents could cite more than one cause.

In addition, 10% of unemployed Detroit residents said being sick with COVID-19 or caring for someone with COVID-19 contributed to their unemployment. One-quarter (26%) of unemployed Detroit residents report they had to stop working due to family and personal obligations resulting from the pandemic.