The State of the State is… Unemployed

Wednesday evening, Governor Gretchen Whitmer took to the airwaves to deliver her third State of the State address. She lobbed a few talking points from the Biden administration, hyped the new President’s slogan, and talked a lot about bipartisanship.

We caught up with Lynn Afendoulis, press secretary for Speaker Wentworth, Beth DeShone, Executive Director of the Great Lakes Education Project and Tori Sachs, Executive Director of Michigan Rising Action for their reactions to Gov. Whitmer’s lackluster address. You can hear what they had to say in the latest edition of our podcast, “In the Trenches.”

Among the many things left unsaid in the address: the state of the state is far too often unemployed.

Almost 359,000 Michiganians who want to work can’t find a job.

64,000 workers lost their jobs last month alone.

Roughly 20,000 more people file for unemployment every week.

The unemployment rate is double what it was in January of last year. It’s higher than the rate in Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, Minnesota – and Michigan’s COVID-19 death rate is higher, too.

Governor Whitmer’s only answer to struggling families during her speech was tax giveaways for big businesses, road funding she already vetoed, and six extra weeks of unemployment benefits for out-of-work residents – an extension the Republican legislature already passed and the governor already vetoed.

If she wants to make a difference for families, she should start by opening the economy. Workers should not be forced to beg their government to let them survive.


Tony Daunt
Tony Daunt
Executive Director
Michigan Freedom Fund

Detroit News: Editorial: Whitmer speech didn’t match urgency of times

"While we appreciate brevity in a speech, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's airy State of the State address Wednesday night did not match the seriousness of the challenges facing Michigan. The roughly 25 minutes of remarks before a virtual audience opened with what appeared to be a campaign infomercial touting the governor's adroitness in managing Michigan through the threats of the past year. It closed with a call for unity with the Republican-controlled Legislature. The plea had a disingenuous tone given how furiously the governor has seemed to avoid working with lawmakers since seizing control of the state under COVID-19 emergency powers more than 10 months ago."
"There were 70,088 businesses in Michigan that were subject to government-mandated closure at some point in 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The state of Michigan gave out $100 million in federal COVID relief money to 14,000 small businesses that year."
"More students and teachers are likely to show up when the Detroit school district reopens its doors for in-person learning next month, according to the latest results of an ongoing survey. With about 80% to 90% of district teachers responding so far, 40% of them say they're willing to teach face to face. That's up from about 20% in the fall, Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said during a school board committee meeting Monday."

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