Cityscape

Survey suggests 45-percent unemployment in Detroit, fears amid reopening


July 01, 2020, 10:41 AM

Detroit's unemployment rate could be around 45 percent, based on a new University survey of about 1,000 people. Fifty-six poercent of respondents feel the state has eased restrictions on some activities too soon.

“The unemployment rate in the city of Detroit remains alarmingly high and has not changed very much in the past month. Also, 56 percent of those not currently working believe it is very unlikely they will return to work in the next month,” said Jeffrey Morenoff, professor of public policy and sociology and director of the Population Studies Center at U-M’s Institute for Social Research.

This is the third survey from the Detroit Metro Area Communities Study, which reaches about 1,000 people and is weighted to reflect the city's demographics. Surveys were self-administered online and interviewer-administered by phone from May 28 to June 11, a release says 2020.

The unemployment rate is worse among Black and brown people, with nearly half of Black Detroiters and one-third of Latino Detroiters saying they've lost their job due to the pandemic. That's compared to 22 percent of white Detroiters.

Additional findings:

Forty-one percent of working Detroiters say they’ve lost their jobs because of COVID-19. Of those who have lost their jobs, 73 percent say they have applied for unemployment benefits, and more than half who have applied say they have received unemployment benefits.

“We find that a substantial number of people are falling behind on their bills and facing financially precarious situations,” said Lydia Wileden, a doctoral candidate at U-M who analyzed the ... survey data. “One-in-five Detroit households say they have not paid at least one household bill in the past month, and 44 percent say they are concerned about facing one or more hardships such as being evicted, having their utilities shut off or going bankrupt in the coming months.”

Survey results also suggest many families are struggling with rising costs and food shortages. Sixty-five percent of Detroit households report spending more at the grocery store in the last month, while 71 percent of those who report not having enough to eat in the past week point to the prohibitively high cost of food as a cause of their insecurity.

But despite the bleak economic outlook, 56 percent of respondents feel restrictions on public activities were lifted too soon, including a majority of people who lost their jobs. Just 12 percent felt restrictions had not been lifted soon enough. 

Fifty-four percent of respondents were women and 46% were men. The handout gives methodology details:

The margin of sampling error for a random sample survey of this size would be +/- 4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. The actual margin of sampling error varies by statistic due in part to the complex sample design.



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