Report: unemployment down in Michigan, but food assistance up

Jun 30, 2011

The Michigan League for Human Services (MLHS) released its "Economic Security Bulletin" today.

The report showed the unemployment rate dropping in 82 of Michigan's 83 counties when comparing the 1st quarter of 2010 with the 1st quarter of 2011 (Ontonagon was the only county that did not show a drop - going from 16.9% to 18.0%).

But despite the improvement in employment, the need for food assistance is rising.

The MLHS reports that every county in the state saw an increase in the need for food assistance.

Statewide, there was a 15.5% increase in the need for food assistance when comparing the 1st quarter of 2010 with the 1st quarter of 2011.

From the MLHS:

Large counties reporting the biggest increase in households on the Food Assistance Program were Oakland (26%), Washtenaw (24%), Ingham (23%) and Livingston (21.5%). Large counties reporting the biggest decreases in unemployment were St. Clair (3.7% decrease), Muskegon (3.5% decrease) and Monroe (3.3% decrease).

The report also tracks trends in caseloads in the Family Independence Program (up 2%), Medicaid (up 5.9%) and child day care (down 15%).

Counties registering the biggest jump in Family Independence Program (cash assistance) caseloads were Crawford, Mackinac, Tuscola, Dickinson, Sanilac, Shiawassee, Arenac, Cheboygan, Marquette and Antrim.

The report shows that Mackinac County (24.9%) had the highest unemployment rate in the 1st quarter of 2011.

Lake County (28.6%) had the highest rate of people using food assistance in the 1st quarter of 2011.