It’s as bad as predicted for Branch County. The April unemployment number collected the second week of the month was 23 percent — nearly twice the previous high of 14 percent in 2009 during the Great Recession.
March figures showed 3.2 percent taken the week before the state and country closed down because of COVID-19.
The number of unemployed went from 610 in March to 4,302 in April.
The number of Branch County residents working was 14,395, the lowest number in the last three decades.
Those number of workers in the labor forced dropped back to the 2012 level. The report showed 18,998. Last year, in April, that number was at 19,240 the highest since 2008 when 20,421 were availible for jobs here.
In neighboring St. Joseph County, the number of unemployed went from 918 in March to 8,785 in April. The unemployment rate was 30.3 percent from a March 3.4 percent.
In Hillsdale County the number of unemployed went from 767 in March to 5,345 in April. The unemployment rate increased from March at 3.8 percent to 27.7 percent in April.
Seasonally unadjusted jobless rates jumped significantly in all 17 of Michigan’s major labor market areas and in all 83 counties during April, according to data released from the Michigan Department of Technology, Management & Budget
The monthly survey of employers indicated that, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, seasonally unadjusted April payroll jobs in Michigan fell by a record 977,000, or 22.3 percent, to 3,404,000.
Substantial job cuts occurred in all industries, with the largest observed in the leisure and hospitality sector which lost 225,000 jobs.
On a numeric basis, the second largest industry employment reduction occurred in manufacturing, with a loss of 173,000 jobs. The broad sectors with the largest monthly job losses tended to be those that were not deemed essential or in which working remotely was not widely possible.