When Michigan’s ‘Stay At Home’ Order Expires, It’s A Long Road to Recovery

“Let’s say that auto plant opens up again on May 4th. It will not look the same as it looked two months ago,” says MSU Professor of Economics Charles Ballard.

Michigan’s stay-at-home order is set to expire at the end of month, provoking conversations about an economic reboot.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer says some relaxation on restrictions can be expected at the end of the order, but exactly what that will look like is still up in the air. How long will it take to get back to business as usual and what will the economy look like in the weeks and months ahead? 

Listen: What will an economic reset look like in Michigan? 


Charles Ballard, professor of economics at Michigan State University, says the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic have been staggering. The economy is about 20% smaller than it was a month ago and, in Michigan, we have lost more than all the jobs gained in the last ten years says Ballard.

As restrictions begin to be relaxed, Ballard says some areas of the economy will bounce back more quickly than others.

“Let’s say we get the all-clear and all the restaurants are open again. I’m not sure people will flock back to them, because people are still scared,” says Ballard.

The false choice between public health and economic interests is something that Ballard warns against. He says fighting and containing the virus is consequential to the country’s economy.

 “When somebody dies, that’s an economic cost. When someone is in a hospital on a respirator for weeks, that’s a huge economic cost,” says Ballard. 

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