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Alpena County hit 19% jobless in April

News Photo by Julie Riddle Beth VanPamel, owner of VanPamel’s Hometown Diner in Hillman, prepares the restaurant to receive customers as northern Michigan eating establishments open to limited indoor dining earlier this month.

ALPENA — Alpena County’s jobless rate surged to a whopping 18.6% in April as Gov. Gretchen Whitmer ordered all but the most essential businesses closed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

And that was the eighth-best unemployment rate in the state, according to figures out today from the Michigan Department of Technology, Management, and Budget.

Whitmer has since reopened most businesses in northern Michigan, but the April numbers show the steep hole out of which the economy must climb.

Alpena County’s March unemployment rate was 4.4%, according to DTMB.

Presque Isle County’s unemployment rate was 28.4% in April, up from 9.1%. Montmorency County’s was 34.2% (the fourth-worst in the state), up from 8.6%. And Alcona County’s was 24.8%, up from 6.8%.

“With the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, all 83 Michigan counties registered sharp jobless rate hikes over the month and year,” DTMB said in a news release. “In fact, 80 Michigan counties in April recorded the highest unemployment rate since 1990.”

Statewide, Michigan lost a record 977,000 jobs from March, when the virus first hit Michigan, to April.

“Substantial job cuts occurred in all industries, with the largest observed in the leisure and hospitality sector (-225,000 jobs),” DTMB wrote. “On a numeric basis, the second largest industry employment reduction occurred in manufacturing, with a loss of 173,000 jobs.”

Menominee County’s 14.5% unemployment was the best in the state last month. Cheboygan County’s 41.2% unemployment was the worst.

View DTMB’s complete release by clicking hereherehere.

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