Michigan Gives Itself Stingiest Jobless Benefits

Michigan’s governor signed a bill into law that will cut unemployment benefits by six weeks — bad news for would-be workers in a state that’s been marred in 10.4 percent unemployment.

The New York Times reports Michigan will lower its current 26-week maximum length of unemployment benefits — which matches every other state — to 20 weeks beginning next year.

The good news for Michigan’s unemployed ranks is the bill extends benefits for the rest of the year. The governor’s office said 35,000 people would have lost their benefits this week had the legislation not passed, and 150,000 would have lost them by the end of the year.

A lawyer from the National Employment Law Project, which fought the law, said it was a poor deal for the unemployed:

“We have a temporary change to help some jobless workers that is imposing an indefinite or permanent cost on future jobless workers. And that does seem doubly unfair when the temporary help for current jobless workers is almost totally paid for by the federal government.”

Michigan Cuts Jobless Benefit by Six Weeks [The New York Times]