Feds report more than 54K new unemployment claims filed in Mich. last week

Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News

More than 54,000 people filed unemployment claims with Michigan last week, pushing the total new claims filed since the pandemic hit the state to more than 1.7 million. 

The 54,460 new claims filed for the week ending May 16 are reflective of a downward trend in Michigan of weekly initial claims filed, but state officials have warned federal numbers likely do not include a fraction of individuals who are newly eligible under the CARES Act. 

The state is expected to provide its own new claim numbers in the coming days.

Nationally, roughly 2.4 million claims were filed last week, bringing the nine-week unemployment claim total to 38.6 million, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data compiled by the Associated Press.

Michigan reported Wednesday that the state unemployment rate had hit 22.7%, the highest since comparable estimates began in 1976.

The rate reflects what percentage of the state work force is estimated to be unemployed at a given point in time while the number of new claims reflects how many people filed in a given week."

The rate is likely the highest jobless rate in the post-war era, the state has estimated. 

But that rate is also likely to be the high water mark during the pandemic because of eased restrictions on the state's automakers that have allowed thousands of employees to return to work. 

Manufacturing facilities began to return to work May 11 and General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV called back workers on Monday. 

After persistent issues with the state unemployment system, Michigan officials appeared optimistic last week about the progress the state had made. Officials believe roughly 92% of the individuals who were eligible to receive unemployment had done so as of  May 13.