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Michigan offers little to unemployed residents, compared to other states

Matt Katzenberger

Michigan falls short in providing a safety net for unemployed workers, according to a new report.

Researchers with the Michigan League for Public Policy compared Michigan to eight other Midwestern states including Iowa, Ohio, and Illinois.

Peter Roark is with the League. He said it is harder for people to get access to unemployment benefits and those benefits are lower in Michigan than in other states.

“This is very foolish for Michigan to be in this situation because unemployment insurance not only helps workers and their families it is also good for the economy.”

Roark says Michigan is more stringent about who has access to unemployment benefits.

“There are some people that say that having a better unemployment insurance program would hurt jobs and that just doesn’t seem to be true. Minnesota has much better benefits than Michigan and Minnesota’s unemployment rate has always been quite a bit lower.”

And, Roark said, Michigan offers benefits for the shortest period of time.

“All of our neighboring states provide a maximum of 26 weeks of benefits while the unemployed worker looks for work but Michigan cut that down to twenty weeks a few years ago when we were still recovering from the recession and we still had a lot of unemployment.”

Roark said a safety net is important to the health of residents and to the local economy.