News Story

Michigan Unemployment Claims Almost Triple Previous High

From 5,338 per week to 311k; restaurants that once employed 292k mostly shut down

During the week of March 14, there were 5,338 individuals across the state of Michigan who filed for unemployment benefits.

Two weeks later, the number had skyrocketed to 311,086, blowing away all previous high-water marks for weekly unemployment claims, going back to when record collection began in 1987.

Over the last 37 years, the second- and third-largest spikes in weekly unemployment claims occurred in 1992 and 2009.

During the week of July 25 in 1992, there were 108,572 people in Michigan who filed for unemployment benefits. The driver was a statewide UAW strike.

In the week of Jan. 10, 2009, there were 76,702 residents who filed claims for unemployment benefits. This was when the Great Recession and the worldwide financial collapse were in their steepest decline.

This year, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer shut down bars and restaurants with an executive order on March 16, citing the COVID-19 coronavirus.

According to the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, there were 13,593 restaurants and other eating places in Michigan, and they had 292,290 employees in 2018. The employment census is published by the U.S. Department of Labor.