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Numbers begin to quantify Michigan’s economic spiral

Published 8:51am Thursday, October 15, 2009

By JOHN EBY
Dowagiac Daily News

Unemployment went up more than eight percentage points in St. Clair and Macomb counties between the second quarter of 2008 and the second quarter of 2009, the Michigan League for Human Services’ Economic Security Bulletin reported Wednesday.

Other counties with large jumps are Baraga, Oscoda, Hillsdale, Sanilac, Wexford, Montmorency, Ontonagon and Osceola.

The bulletin is a regular quarterly report on unemployment, food assistance, cash assistance and Medicaid caseloads, tracked by county.

New to this report is the number of children in state-paid child day care.

Cass County’s jobless rate increased 5.1 percentage points between the second quarter of 2008 and the second quarter (April-May-June) of 2009, from 6.1 percent to 11.2 percent.
Berrien County experienced a 5.6-percent surge, from 7.2 percent to 12.8 percent.

Van Buren County during the same time frame went up 5.4 percent, from 7.2 percent to 12.6 percent.

According to the report, the number of unemployed people in southwest Michigan surged 80.3 percent in Cass County (1,625 to 2,930), 72.2 percent in Berrien County (5,782 to 9,959) and 71.2 percent in Van Buren County (2,858 to 4,894).

The average number of households receiving food assistance was paced by Cass County’s 28-percent increase (2,942 to 3,765), with Berrien County recording a 12.4-percent rise (10,966 to 12,329) and Van Buren County at 15.3 percent more (5,195 to 5,991).

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Michigan’s median income continued to erode below the national average in 2008, with $48,591 per household, compared to $52,029 for the United States.

Also according to the Census Bureau, this decade 833,000 Michigan residents have lost employer-sponsored health insurance.

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