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Two-Track Recovery Anticipated for Michigan Economy

Economists say Michigan’s economy is expected to gradually strengthen, with some industries recovering much faster than others.

In the early months of the pandemic, more than 1 million jobs were gutted from the state’s payrolls, according to Bruce Weaver, economic manager at the Michigan Department of Technology Management and Budget.

As of July, Michigan was still down 520,000 jobs compared to pre-pandemic levels.

“That’s a drop (in jobs) of about 11.7% from February to July, but it also means that the state has recovered about half the jobs that we lost in March and April,” said Weaver.

COVID-19 walloped the leisure and hospitality industry especially hard. It has recovered about 35% of its lost jobs, whereas other sectors — including construction, manufacturing and trade, transportation, and utilities — have recovered more than 60% of the slashed positions, said Weaver.

To that end, economists anticipate a two-track economic recovery.

“Certain sectors are going to be able to recover faster than others,” said Michael McWilliams, the Michigan forecasting specialist at the University of Michigan.

Industries on the fast track include durable goods, manufacturing and construction. Leisure, hospitality and retail trade sectors are included in the slower track, said McWilliams.

By the end of 2022, slow recovery industries are expected to come up short by more than 100,000 jobs while those on the fast track are forecasted to be 8,000 jobs above their pre-pandemic levels, with some industries rebounding even faster,” said McWilliams.

“We’ve had a really, really solid recovery until now,” he said.