News Story

Study: Michigan Falls Behind In Recovering From Pandemic

Health status, jobs and economy, travel and leisure return rates here all lag

As nationwide vaccination rates rise, unemployment rates and mask mandates are falling and travel is on the upswing. But according to a recent report, Michigan is far behind other states in the return-to-normal process.

The report, The States that are Recovering the Quickest from COVID-19, looks at 21 key measurements in three categories: COVID incidence, leisure and travel activity, and economy and labor market indicators. Produced by the personal finance website WalletHub, the report places Michigan near the bottom in all three categories, resulting in an overall rank of 51st place, behind all other states and the District of Columbia.

COVID Health: 47th place

The COVID health category accounts for 50 of the 100 possible points in each state’s score. Hospitalization rates and death rates are heavily weighted, but medical staff and supply shortages in hospitals and vaccination distribution play a major role as well.

In some respects, Michigan’s health status is average: In early June it ranked 25th in immunizations, with about 50% of residents ages 12 and older being fully vaccinated. From June 1 to June 7, Michigan’s death rate was also No. 25 nationwide.

But by other measurements, Michigan is well below average. Hospitalization rates here the week of May 20-26 were tied with six other states as the nation’s highest. Michigan also had the 7th-highest share of hospitals with supply shortages, with 17% reportedly unable to maintain a three-day supply of face masks, gloves, gowns, or eye protection.

Leisure and Travel: 47th Place

The leisure and travel category contributes up to 20 points toward a state’s overall score. States receive points based on factors that include the level of restrictions on gatherings, food services, and travel.

Michigan does well when it comes to the level of access to national parks, beaches, and public gardens. Visits to these locations are up nearly 200% in the time period studied, putting the state in 7th place on the study’s park mobility index.

While enjoying the outdoors in on the rise here, retail and recreation in the state are down 5% from pre-pandemic levels. The number of seated diners for the week ending June 6 was still 5.3% below where it was two years earlier, and Michigan’s rank for average daily restaurant visits per capita was 18th from the bottom between May 24 to May 30. The state’s extensive restrictions on gatherings also contributed to its Leisure and Travel rank of 47th place.

Economy and Labor Market: 44th Place

The third and final category in the report contributes 30 possible points to a state’s reopening score. It assigns points based on rates of economic output, employment, and workplace mobility.

Michigan is falling short on two out of three of these indicators. The state’s gross domestic product fell 5.39% in 2020. The number of small businesses open was down 43%, with 22% fewer hours worked. Total weekly job postings for the week ending June 4, 2021, compared to January 2020 were the 6th-lowest in the nation.

The number of active real estate listings in Michigan this year is far below the pre-COVID levels of 2019. This decline is average when compared to other states. Workplace mobility fares roughly the same.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.