WEST BLOOMFIELD, Mich. – Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is touting that the state’s economy has rebounded since the start of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, but the outlook might not be as positive as she claims.
Whitmer believes the economy is rebounding and prospering as a result of how effective her COVID-19 restrictions have been. She cites a CNN Moody’s analytics report to make her case.
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But while Michigan is certainly better off than it was in March, Local 4 did a deep dive Wednesday and found that the situation isn’t nearly as positive as the governor said.
It doesn’t take much searching to see signs of the economy struggling, such as a retail outlet going out of business.
Some business owners who have been closed down for the past six month begged the governor to allow them to open. One is Don Silverman, of Spartan West Lanes in Ludington.
“I’m going to lose my business in another 30 days,” Silverman said. “I’m running out of options.”
If you’re looking to gauge Michigan’s economic health, it starts with unemployment, economist Patrick Anderson said.
“We still have depression-level unemployment in some areas,” Anderson said.
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Chief Comerica economist Robert Dye is worried.
“I remain very concerned that this fall we’re going to continue to see the ongoing and after-effects of the social mitigation policy we all had to endure through spring,” Dye said.
Silverman said his business might not even make it to that point. The desperation in his voice was clear. He said he opened his center 30 years ago and testified via Zoom on Wednesday before a legislative committee looking into the business impact of coronavirus shutdowns.
“I worked in prison systems, all sorts of things, and have never been scared,” Silverman said. “I was born and raised in Detroit - never scared there, either. Now I’m scared I’m going to lose everything I worked for my entire life.”
“We have people who are out of work by government edict now, and I cannot remember a time in my career where we had so many people out of work because the government closed their shops or prevented them from working,” Anderson said.
There’s another side of the argument that says Michigan’s economy has shown positive signs. Click here to read that story.