- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 20, 2020

DETROIT — Michigan’s unemployment rate rocketed in April, likely setting an all-time high at 22.7%, as coronavirus restrictions shut down businesses and put people out of work, the state reported Wednesday.

April was the first full month of stay-home orders and business shutdowns. People have been urged to wear masks and avoid each other to reduce the spread of the virus.

“Job losses were widespread across all industry sectors, with especially large employment reductions in leisure and hospitality and manufacturing,” said Jason Palmer, director of the Bureau of Labor Market Information and Strategic Initiatives.

The state said the April jobless rate likely set a record when compared to estimates recorded since at least 1976. The previous high was 16.5% in December 1982.

LATEST NUMBERS:



Meanwhile, the state reported 43 additional COVID-19 deaths, raising the total to 5,060. Cases grew by 1% to just over 53,000, continuing a virus slowdown in Michigan.

Bars and restaurants in northern Michigan can reopen Friday for the Memorial Day weekend, but Mackinac Island isn’t throwing down the welcome mat. Ferry boats will not be running to the island Saturday or Sunday, MLive.com reported.

Island officials want to stick to their plan to gradually reopen May 29.

“Mackinac is a very special place and we are all in this together and we will get through this together,” Mayor Margaret Doud said.

LEGAL CHALLENGES:

Republicans who run the House and Senate still are waiting for a judge to decide whether Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, exceeded her emergency powers at the end of April without their consent. Meanwhile, a judge in a separate but similar lawsuit ruled in favor of the governor.

Two laws “confer broad authority upon the office of the governor. History will determine whether the governor is judiciously exercising this authority in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Court of Claims Judge Michael Kelly said Tuesday.

LOOKING AHEAD:

In Detroit, an Aug. 31 fireworks show was announced to honor health care workers and others involved in the virus fight. But there’s a twist: The show will be on TV with no public crowds allowed.

It will be up to police to come up with a plan to keep people away, Mayor Mike Duggan said.

One of the western Michigan’s beloved summer events, the Coast Guard Festival in Grand Haven, has been scratched. It had never been canceled since starting as a picnic with rowing races in 1924.

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