Heard on Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson

Survey Finds 48% Unemployment Rate in Detroit

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Image credit: Sandra Svoboda/WDET

A newly released survey by the University of Michigan shows sky-high jobless rates in the city of Detroit, exceeding the rest of the state.

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Detroit’s jobless rate could be as high as 48 percent.

Many residents cannot work from home, so they have been laid off or have lost their jobs.” — Louis Aguilar, BridgeDetroit

That’s according to a new study from the University of Michigan tracking the economic fallout of the pandemic on the city. As the numbers of COVID cases and deaths drop, the city is about to witness the economic destruction this first wave of the virus has left behind.

Listen: New survey shows Detroit jobless claims have skyrocketed. 


Louis Aguilar, senior reporter at BridgeDetroit, says the jobless rate in Detroit prior to the pandemic was 9.8 percent, compared to the newly cited 48 percent unemployment rate.

He adds that this massive jump in jobless claims shows just how vulnerable so many Detroiters are.

Many [Detroit] residents have jobs where they cannot work from their home. So they have either been laid off or they have simply lost their jobs,” says Aguilar. Places of mass gatherings, like the city’s casinos, not only provide jobs but also are pillars of financial health for the city, according to Aguilar. He adds that the large sports centers downtown, once touted as a sign of recovery, depend on large groups coming to the city to spend money, a precarious market for the foreseeable future. 

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