News Story

Two years later, Michigan has 125K fewer jobs than it did before lockdowns

1 in 3 Michigan businesses faced a government-mandated closure in 2020

Two years after COVID-19 lockdowns began in Michigan, the state has 125,000-plus fewer jobs than it had pre-pandemic.

In June, Michigan had 125,600 fewer jobs than it did in February 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In raw numbers, payroll jobs fell from 4,452,700 in February 2020 to 4,327,100 jobs in June 2022.

Nearly one in three Michigan businesses, or 32%, experienced a government-mandated closure, according to the bureau’s 2020 Business Response Survey. That was the highest closure rate of all states. The national average was 18.74%.

In the second quarter of 2020, Michigan suffered 590,403 net job losses in the private sector. That followed a first quarter with 25,676 job losses, according to the BLS.

“I hate to blame lockdowns, but Michigan had the most extreme lockdown in America,” said James Hohman, director of fiscal policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. “The states that had the most extreme lockdowns were the slowest to recover.”

Hohman also cites workforce data.

In February 2020, the state had a workforce participation rate of 61.1%. By April, a month after lockdowns began, it fell to 56.6%. In the years since, Michigan’s rate has crept back up to 60% — which ranks 39th among 50 states, far worse than its Midwestern neighbors. The next lowest state is Ohio, with 62%. Wisconsin is the highest, at 66.5%.

The national average for labor force participation is 62.1%, as of July. It was 63.4% in February 2020.

Both in Michigan and the United States, the labor force has yet to rebound to pre-pandemic levels.

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.