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Some trends support Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s claim that Michigan’s economy is rebounding

Report finds Michigan's economy rebounding since start of COVID-19 pandemic

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, and some trends support that claim.

Whitmer quoted a CNN Moody’s analytics report saying Michigan’s economy has rebounded 87% since March. It’s called the back-to-normal index, and it uses metrics such as unemployment and the number of people at Michigan parks.

Local 4 did a deep dive Wednesday and found that there are some promising signs in terms of the economy.

It starts with construction. Chief Comerica economist Robert Dye said it’s a great time to buy or sell.

“We have seen home construction in Michigan and just about every other state,” Dye said. “Most other states have construction and home sales coming back up, and it’s very encouraging to see households taking advantage of low interest rates, historically low mortgage rates.”

In a related study, the finance website Bankrate.com came out with its housing hardship index. Back in June, Michigan had a 21.2 rating, which was 10th in the nation with double-digit unemployment and high mortgage foreclosures.

In July, Michigan improved to 14.49 and the national ranking dropped to 33rd. Unemployment was just under 9% and delinquencies were down nearly a point.

You can view the housing hardship index here.

“Michigan was getting hit really hard back in April and May -- the third-worst state in the country -- and now for July, you’re down to 33rd, so it’s a little better than average,” Bankrate’s Jeff Ostrowski said.

There are still businesses struggling. Jordan Munster, of High Caliber Karting and Entertainment in Okemos, told Michigan legislators in a hearing Wednesday that his business is under a cease and desist order and he’s in jeopardy of losing the business because he can’t figure out how to open under the state’s COVID-19 rules.

“Nobody knows how to navigate this, and I completely understand it, but we have to figure out, ‘How do we get open?’” Munster said. “Not when or if -- it’s how?”

There’s another side of the argument that says Michigan’s economy still has a long way to go. You can see that story from Rod Meloni on Local 4 News at 6 p.m. Wednesday.


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