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Survey: Pandemic caused job losses for 4 of 10 Detroiters

May 26, 2020 GMT

DETROIT (AP) — About four out of every 10 Detroit residents who held jobs before the start of the coronavirus pandemic have lost them temporarily or permanently, according to a survey by the University of Michigan.

The survey found the job losses especially were prevalent among people of color, those with less education and those earning less money prior to the shutdown of businesses earlier this year, said Jeffrey Morenoff, a research leader on the Detroit Metro Area Communities Study.

“Even among Detroiters who are still working, 27% said their hours have been reduced since the pandemic,” Morenoff said. “This loss of income takes a significant toll on people’s long-term financial security.”

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The rapid-response COVID-19 survey was open from April 23 to May 7. About 1,100 surveys were completed online or over the phone.

The study’s results suggest Detroit’s current unemployment rate is 48%.

At this time last year, Detroit’s unemployment rate was 8.8%.

“While these job losses are staggering, we likely won’t know the full weight of the pandemic for some time,” said University of Michigan doctoral candidate Lydia Wileden, who analyzed the study’s COVID-19 virus survey data.

“Two-thirds of those newly unemployed report that they have been temporarily laid off or furloughed from their jobs, but only time will tell if their positions and their employers actually come back,” Wileden said.