Manufacturing workers hurt by wobbly supply chains and inconsistent demand that have sporadically stilled mid-Michigan assembly lines are getting some help. The state of Michigan is now allowing laborers temporarily laid off due to a production slowdown to continue receiving unemployment benefits without having to look for a new job.
Senate Bill 501 was sponsored by Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, and signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in July. It allows workers facing temporary layoffs due to certain events like a parts shortage, temporary production volume adjustment or an equipment retooling to continue getting unemployment benefits without starting a job search beyond the traditional 45-day limit.
“We are very happy to have been able to work with the policy team at the Unemployment Insurance Agency and with Sen. Horn to craft a solution that will empower manufacturers who face a supply shortage to keep their employees eligible for benefits during short-term layoffs,” David Worthams, director of human resource policy for the Michigan Manufacturers Association, said in a prepared statement. “This will, in the long term, help keep people employed and Michigan’s economy strong.”
A global shortage in microchips has hit many industries hard, particularly the automobile sector in Michigan. General Motors temporarily shuttered both its Lansing Delta Township and Lansing Grand River Assembly facilities amid chip shortfalls in July, according to Automotive News.
Around that time, a worker at the Delta Township plant told the Detroit Free Press that there were about 15,000 mostly finished vehicles left parked and undelivered to dealers due to a lack of chips.