Unemployment rates in the U.P., Michigan Works! switches gears to assist community


UPPER PENINSULA, Mich. (WJMN) – According to the Department of Technology, Management, and Budget, Michigan’s seasonally adjusted jobless rate rose to 22.7 percent in the month of April.

The April data reflected the first month of the initial impact of COVID19 on employment and unemployment trends in regional labor markets. This increase in unemployment has made U.P. Michigan Works! shift gears in how they assist the community and employers.

“Not a lot of people were looking for jobs when the pandemic hit, as you can imagine,” said Debb Brunell, the director of workforce services at U.P. Michigan Works. “The need of the communities changed, and they were looking for assistance on how to navigate the unemployment system. So we were glad to help with the limited knowledge we have because that isn’t our area. But we changed gears and started helping people with that the process.”

Multiple U.P. counties have some of the lowest unemployment rates in the state. However, many people might not feel comfortable re-entering the workforce yet. Brunell hopes that when people are ready, Michigan Works! can help assist those looking for work again.

“I’m glad we have the information to share about unemployment with people, but we’re hoping that changes soon and that we’re able to talk about how to get back to work. A lot of people won’t be going back to their job that they left. And so having a dialogue on what’s next for them. You know, now’s the time that they can make decisions and choose something different if they wish. So we want to be there to help them through that process,” said Brunell.

For Michigan unemployment rates for April 2020 by county, you can click here.

U.P. Michigan Works! can be contacted by visiting their website www.upmichiganworks.org or call 1-800-285-WORK.

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