News Bite

Number Of State Government Jobs Up As Michigan Crushes Its Restaurant Industry

One-third of all restaurants here may be toast, but government keeps growing

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is expected to extend the statewide lockdown of bars and restaurants to Feb. 1, continuing a ban on any level of dine-in services that has already crippled the industry. The Michigan Licensed Beverage Association released a statement that Whitmer would make the announcement today at a press conference, according to WDIV.

When Whitmer imposed a first statewide lockdown on March 23, it was to end on April 13. But instead of lasting 22 days, that lockdown continued for 56 days. The lockdown in March contributed to the state losing 977,200 jobs and the unemployment rate soaring from 4% for the month of March to 23.8% in April.

On Nov. 15, the state put out a press release about the latest health department lockdown: “MDHHS Issues Three-Week Epidemic Order to Save Lives.” But that “three-week pause” would be stretched to at least 75 days under a lockdown extension.

The lockdowns have more than decimated the food and beverage service industry. The Michigan Restaurant and Lodging Association released a survey in December in which 33% of the state’s restaurants (5,600 establishments) reported it was unlikely they would still be in business within six months.

Yet Michigan’s state government appears to have escaped any similar devastation.

Employment in state government increased from 47,324 full-time jobs in 2018-19 to 47,522 in 2019-20. The 2019-20 fiscal year ended Sept. 30. The number of full-time state jobs authorized in the current 2020-21 state budget is up from the previous fiscal year.


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.