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Survey: Unemployment remains steadily high in Detroit

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Posted at 11:11 AM, Jun 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-30 11:11:54-04

(WXYZ) — Four out of 10 working Detroiters remain temporarily or permanently laid off, according to a study by the University of Michigan.

According to a survey from UM's Detroit Metro Area Communities Study, the unemployment rate in Detroit still sits around 45%.

"The unemployment rate in the city of Detroit remains alarmingly high and has not changed very much in the past month. Also, 56% of those not currently working believe it is very unlikely they will return to work in the next month," said Jeffrey Morenoff, one of the faculty research leads for DMACS, professor of public policy and sociology and director of the Population Studies Center at U-M's Institute for Social Research.

Forty-one percent of working Detroiters say they've lost their jobs because of COVID-19. Of those who have lost their jobs, 73% say they have applied for unemployment benefits, and more than half who have applied say they have received unemployment benefits.

"We find that a substantial number of people are falling behind on their bills and facing financially precarious situations," said Lydia Wileden, a doctoral candidate at U-M who analyzed the DMACS COVID-19 survey data. "One in five Detroit households say they have not paid at least one household bill in the past month, and 44% say they are concerned about facing one or more hardships such as being evicted, having their utilities shut off or going bankrupt in the coming months."

Survey results also suggest that many families are struggling with rising costs and food shortages. Sixty-five percent of Detroit households report spending more at the grocery store in the last month, while 71% of those who report not having enough to eat in the past week point to the prohibitively high cost of food as a cause of their insecurity.

Other key findings include:

  • Nearly half of Black Detroiters and a third of Latino Detroiters say they have lost their job due to the pandemic compared to just 22% of white Detroiters.
  • 71% of Detroiters report receiving a stimulus check, while 12% are still waiting for their check and another 12% say they do not expect a check.
  • 20% of Detroiters say they have been tested for COVID-19. Of those, 84% report a negative test, 8% report a positive test and 9% are still waiting for results. Overall, 4% of Detroiters say they have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and 8% say they have sought medical care for the virus.
  • 38% of Detroiters report they have delayed medical treatment for a new or existing condition while 15% report they have received medical treatment in spite of the pandemic.
  • Half of Detroiters believe that those who test positive for COVID-19 should be required to engage in contact tracing while 47% say they would be willing to engage in contact tracing.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Michigan, a timeline of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Southeast Michigan, and links to more information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC and the WHO.

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.

Visit The Rebound Detroit, a place where we are working to help people impacted financially from the coronavirus. We have all the information on everything available to help you through this crisis and how to access it.