Poll: Half of Michigan Respondents Believe State in Recession, Many Can’t Access Unemployment Benefits

The Detroit Regional Chamber today released findings from a statewide general population poll of 600 people — equally by land line and text — about the impact of COVID-19 on Michigan’s economy and household financial activity.
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downtown Detroit
According to a poll by the Detroit Regional Chamber, 42 percent of respondents ages 18 to 29 and 45 percent of respondents ages 30 to 39 have been laid off or furloughed. // Stock photo

The Detroit Regional Chamber today released findings from a statewide general population poll of 600 people — equally by land line and text — about the impact of COVID-19 on Michigan’s economy and household financial activity.

Survey results from April 15-16 (margin of error +/- 4 percentage points) show 42 percent of respondents ages 18 to 29, and 45 percent of respondents ages 30 to 39, have been laid off or furloughed — the largest percentage among demographic groups.

Among total respondents who agreed they had been forced to file for unemployment, 37 percent of furloughed or laid off workers say they have not been successful in filing for unemployment, while 15 percent of these respondents are not sure if they have been successful in filing for unemployment.

Asked to describe the impact that COVID-19 has had on their household’s financial situation, Michigan respondents to the survey said 47 percent of the financial impact on their household was catastrophic or major, while 51 percent said the financial impact was minor or nothing at all.

In turn, 28 percent of Michigan respondents said they are worried about being able to put food on their table. Additionally, 28 percent are also worried about being able to pay their rent or mortgage.

Roughly half of respondents believe Michigan is already in a recession, while 27 percent believe the state is not in a recession. Another 23 percent of respondents are not sure.

“This poll puts the level of economic struggle across the state in stark relief,” says Sandy K. Baruah, president and CEO of the Chamber. “The dual-threat of navigating our greatest public health crisis coupled with our greatest economic crisis has placed a hereto unknown strain on Michigan families.”

The statewide general population poll was commissioned by the Detroit Regional Chamber and conducted by the Chamber’s polling partner, Lansing-based Glengariff Group Inc.

Highlights from the poll of Michigan residents include:

  • 9 percent of respondents believe they have contracted COVID-19.
  • 29 percent of respondents are furloughed, laid off, or unable to work.
  • 27.3 percent of respondents that were working prior to the outbreak have been forced to file for unemployment.
  • 42.6 percent of respondents that were working prior to the outbreak, are now furloughed, laid off, or unable to work.
  • 69 percent of furloughed or laid-off workers face catastrophic to major financial impact.
  • 28 percent of respondents are worried about putting food on the table.
  • 50 percent of respondents believe Michigan is already in a recession.

Contracting COVID-19
From the poll, 9 percent of respondents said they believe they have contracted COVID-19, even if they had not been tested. While 8 percent of respondents said they believe someone in their household contracted COVID-19, even if they had not been tested.

  • 18 percent of those still working as normal believe they have contracted COVID-19, and 14 percent of those “currently working from home” believe they have contracted COVID-19.
  • 12 percent of both Republican and Independent respondents believe they have contracted COVID-19, while only 5 percent of Democratic voters believe they have contracted the virus.
  • 9 percent of white respondents and 7 percent of African American respondents believe they have contracted COVID-19.

The sharpest differences came by age:

Percentage          Age Bracket

13 percent            18-29

16 percent            30-39

6 percent              40-49

9 percent              50-64

4 percent              65+

Furlough, Lay Offs, and Work Restrictions
Respondents were asked to describe their current work status since the COVID-19 crisis:

  • 32 percent were not working prior to the virus.
  • 19 percent continue to work like they did before the virus.
  • 20 percent continue to work but are doing so from home.
  • 29 percent have been furloughed, laid off, or are unable to work.

42 percent of respondents ages 18 to 29, and 45 percent of respondents ages 30 to 39 have been laid off or furloughed – by far the largest percentage among demographic groups.

35 percent of Republican respondents are furloughed or laid off compared to 27 percent of Democratic respondents and 25 percent of Independent respondents.

By region, the largest percentage of furloughed or laid off respondents were 41 percent in the Traverse City media market, and 34 percent in the Grand Rapids media market In the Detroit media market,  27 percent have been furloughed or laid off.

Among respondents that were working prior to COVID-19, 42.6 percent are now furloughed, laid off, or unable to work.

Unemployment
Among the 29 percent of total respondents that are furloughed, laid off, or unable to work, they were asked if they have been forced to file for unemployment benefits.

  • 64 percent have filed for unemployment benefits.
  • 36 percent have not filed for unemployment benefits.

Among respondents that were working prior to the virus, 27.3 percent have now been forced to file for unemployment. Respondents that have been forced to file for unemployment were asked whether or not they have been successful:

  • 48 percent of furloughed or laid off have been successful in filing for unemployment.
  • 37 percent of furloughed or laid off have not been successful in filing for unemployment.
  • 15 percent of these respondents are not sure if they have been successful in filing for unemployment.

52 percent of unemployed workers under the age of 30 have not been able to successfully file for unemployment, and 42 percent of unemployed men have not been able to successfully file for unemployment.

Major Financial Impact to Furloughed and Laid-off Workers
Respondents were asked to describe the impact that COVID-19 has had on their household’s financial situation. Of Michigan respondents, 47 percent said the financial impact on their household was catastrophic or major, and 51 percent said the financial impact was minor or nothing at all.

  • 12 percent said the impact was catastrophic.
  • 35 percent said the impact was major.
  • 36 percent said the impact was minor.
  • 15 percent said there was no impact at all.

From the survey, 21 percent of respondents under the age of 30 said that the impact was catastrophic, while 30 percent of respondents under 30 said the impact was major.

In turn, 11 percent of respondents aged 30 to 39 said that the impact was catastrophic, and 48 percent of respondents aged 30 to 39 said the impact was major.

And 20 percent of respondents who have been laid off or furloughed said the impact was catastrophic, while 9 percent of respondents who have been laid off or furloughed said the financial impact was major. For respondents who have been laid off or furloughed, 69 percent said the financial impact was catastrophic or major.

Respondents Ability to Pay Bills, Support Family
Of Michigan respondents, 28 percent are worried about being able to put food on their table. Additionally, 28 percent are also worried about being able to pay their rent or mortgage.

  • 54 percent of furloughed or laid off respondents are worried about putting food on their table.
  • 54 percent of African American respondents are worried about putting food on their table.
  • 45 percent of those aged 18 to 29 and 40 percent of those aged 30 to 39 are worried about putting food on their table.

Unlike partisan issues visible on so many Michigan issues, there appear to be few differences by party when it comes to concern about putting food on the table. 31 percent of Democratic respondents, 26 percent of Republican respondents, and 26 percent of Independent respondents are worried about putting food on the table.

Majority Believe Michigan Already in Recession
The majority of respondents, 50 percent, believe Michigan is already in a recession. While 27 percent believe the state is not in a recession and 23 percent of respondents are not sure.

58 percent of Independent voters and 51 percent of Democratic voters believe the state is in recession. But only 42 percent of Republican voters believe the state is in recession and 34 percent of Republican voters say the state is not in a recession.

How Long Until Financial Recovery?
Respondents were asked once the stay at home order is lifted, how long it would take for their household finances to return to normal.

  • 14 percent said their finances had not changed.
  • 46 percent said their finances would return to normal within one month.
  • 24 percent said their finances would return to normal in a couple of months.
  • 15 percent said the finances would return to normal in one year.

For respondents that had been furloughed, laid off, or cannot work:

  • 2 percent said their finances had not changed.
  • 41 percent said their finances would return to normal within one month.
  • 35 percent said their finances would return to normal in a couple of months.
  • 21 percent said their finances would return to normal in one year.

Getting Back to Work
Respondents were asked how soon they would get back to work once the stay at home order is lifted.

  • 20 percent said they would return right away.
  • 19 percent said they would return in a couple of weeks.
  • 13 percent said they would return in one month.
  • 25 percent said they would return in a couple of months.
  • 23 percent said they simply did not know.

Among respondents who have been furloughed, laid off, or unable to work:

  • 15 percent said they would return right away.
  • 22 percent said they would return in a couple of weeks.
  • 12 percent said they would return in one month.
  • 25 percent said they would return in a couple of months.
  • 26 percent said they simply did not know.

When it is time to get back to work, furloughed or unemployed workers, and those who are working at home were asked if they would feel safe or not safe going back to their place of work.

  • 61 percent of these workers said they felt safe.
  • 32 percent of these workers said they did not feel safe.
  • 20 percent feel very safe.
  • 41 percent feel somewhat safe.
  • 25 percent felt somewhat unsafe.
  • 7 percent felt very unsafe.

White voters felt safe by a margin of 62 percent-31 percent. African American voters felt safe by a narrower margin of 52 percent-39 percent.

By a margin of 60 percent-20 percent, respondents going back to work said they trusted their workplace to keep them safe, and 20 percent of these workers were not sure.

Michiganders Split on When State Will Be Back to Normal
Respondents were asked how long it would take for Michigan to return to normal.

  • 18 percent said Michigan would be back to normal with one month.
  • 39 percent said between one to six months.
  • 36 percent said in a year a more.
  • 4 percent said a few weeks
  • 14 percent said a month
  • 24 percent said several months
  • 15 percent said six months
  • 18 percent said a year
  • 18 percent said more than one year
  • 7 percent are not sure.

According to Lansing-based Glengariff Group Inc., the 600-sample survey provides a margin of error of +/- 4 percent with a 95-percent level of confidence. Data collection for the survey was conducted via automated calling and text messaging — 50 percent of respondents were contacted via automatic dialing, landline telephone, while the other half of respondents were contacted via cellphone text message.

View the full findings of the poll at detroitchamber.com/MICovidPoll.

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