WDET-FM: Marick Masters on unemployment processing issues
Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson has been hosting hour-long specials on 101.9 WDET where local experts answer listener questions on COVID-19. For this special, Marick Masters interim chair of the Department of Finance at Wayne State’s Mike Ilitch School of Business, joined other experts to answer questions from tweets, email and call-ins. Economists say Michigan is now at depression-level unemployment. One million people are now jobless. To help residents, Congress passed a stimulus package and expanded unemployment benefits to self-employed and gig economy workers, among others. That has meant an unprecedented surge of jobless claims and applications, which has challenged the state’s unemployment agency’s ability to handle that volume of claims. When eligibility opened up for workers who were previously denied unemployment benefits, the state’s unemployment website malfunctioned under the weight of all of the people hoping to take advantage of the expanded benefits. As of April 17, Michigan has paid out $823 million to 765,000 Michiganders, with about 300,000 more residents expected to receive benefits for the first time next week.