Washtenaw County projected to regain “all jobs lost” in the wake of the pandemic by 2023

WASHTENAW COUNTY, MI – University of Michigan researchers predict jobs lost during the pandemic will not return to Washtenaw County until 2023.

The county’s unemployment rate peaked at 14.7% in April 2020 as statewide restrictions forced shutdowns and caused an economic downturn. This emerges from the report on Washtenaw County Economic Outlook for the period 2021-2023 prepared by UM researchers for Ann Arbor SPARK and Washtenaw Community College.

However, as the first wave of coronavirus cases began to fade, employment began to pick up in the spring and summer. The recovery slowed in the fall due to a recurrence of cases, but unemployment fell to 5% by December 2020, according to the report.

“We expect the job recovery to resume vigorously in the spring of 2021. By the second quarter of 2023, Washtenaw County will have regained all of the jobs lost during the recession and a few more,” researchers reported.

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However, researchers predict that the unemployment rate will “flatten” in the first quarter of 2021 and the recovery is expected to continue into the second quarter, with unemployment rising to 4.1% in Washtenaw County and 6.2% by the end of the year. in Michigan lowers. Researchers said.

“By the end of our forecast for the fourth quarter of 2023, the unemployment rate in the state of Michigan is projected to be 3.9 percent, which is exactly the same as the rate in the fourth quarter of 2019. We forecast Washtenaw County’s fourth quarter 2023 unemployment rate to be 2.5 percent, ”which is 0.1% below the fourth quarter of 2019, researchers reported.

The researchers cited the second wave of COVID-19 as the reason job restoration stalled in the fourth quarter. While the county regained 41% of job losses in the third quarter of 2020, job recovery stalled in the fourth quarter.

Industry trends

Government is the main industry that researchers predict will see the biggest decline this year, but will rebound strongly in 2022. Almost all new positions are awarded by the state government.

Industries like corporate headquarters, transportation, warehousing, utilities and information actually found employment in 2020. Researchers reported that they paid the “highest average wage in the county in 2019” while the transportation and storage industry paid an average wage 10% above that of the county average.

Transportation and storage jobs are expected to grow 19.2% through 2023, with warehousing seeing most of the gains, and head office employment is expected to grow 12.1%, according to researchers.

The professional and technical services industry lost fewer jobs in 2020, and researchers predict it will continue to grow by more than 10% by 2022, according to the report. However, the largest increases are in computer systems design and architecture, at 23.1%.

Although construction costs fell 6.7% in 2020, researchers expect them to skyrocket 23.4%, or 1,030 jobs, in 2023.

“This would be the fastest growth any major industry has seen in the county,” the researchers said in the report.

Arts, leisure, room and board jobs all fell significantly during the pandemic. Employment in accommodation and catering services, which include limited service or fast food restaurants, will see larger increases over the next three years, the researchers said, but they are unlikely to return to pre-pandemic levels.

Retail is expected to regain just over 38% of the jobs lost over the next three years. The industry is different from electronics and homeware stores, apparel, sporting goods, bookstores, and department stores, which are expected to continue losing jobs over the next three years, researchers reported.

However, places like grocery stores, pharmacies, and personal care stores, as well as other various retail stores, can expect higher growth beyond pre-pandemic levels.

You can find the full report here and the presentation slides here.

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