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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Jobless rate down between 2009, 2010 in all Michigan counties, need for public assistance programs rose

Food StampsImage by NCReedplayer via Flickr
As unemployment rate decreased in all
of Michigan's counties, the need for
public assistance programs, like food stamps

All of Michigan’s counties saw a decrease in their total unemployment rate between the 4th quarter of 2009 and 2010. Even though statewide, the decrease was less than 1 point. 

In addition, there was at least a decrease of 2 points in the jobless rate of 53 counties and two counties had a decrease of more than 4 points, according to an Economic Security bulletin from the Michigan League for Human Services.

At a time when federal House Republicans, Governor Rick Snyder (R) and state GOP legislative officials are wanting cut Medicaid, Food Stamps and cash assistance, the same report cites need for public assistance programs is up in Michigan.

Specifically, the report noted individuals or families in need of state and federally backed food assistance programs increased over the same period.

“Nearly all counties (in Michigan) increased their Food Assistance caseloads by at least 5 percent, and 19 counties increased it by more than 20 percent. Statewide, 958,850 household received Food Assistance during the fourth quarter of 2010”, the report noted.
Despite the slightly encouraging Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report on Friday, April 1st showing a .1% decrease in the jobless rate from 8.9% to 8.8%, with 216,000 new jobs created, many Michigan families are struggling to make ends meet, according to the report.

The BLS report cited that new jobs are being created in retail, service and entry-level manufacturing industries. Normally, these are lower wage employment opportunity. An April 4th article on Reach Out Job Search noted that for an individual to maintain basic life needs --shelter, food, utilities payments-- their wage would need to average at least $14.00 per hour.

Up to 19.2 percent of Michigan's population was receiving some kind of public assistance, food assistance, cash assistance, child day care or Medicaid, in the fourth quarter of 2010 according to the report.

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