It appears some jobs numbers released by the state for July may indicated that Michigan's economy may be slowly returning to whatever "normal" is.

Michigan's Department of Technology, Management & Budget says "seasonally un-adjusted unemployment rates declined in all 17 of Michigan’s major labor market areas during July".

Leading the way is tiny Alger County in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, with a drop of 9.3%.

But the numbers from around Southwest Michigan are starting to look much better, too.

DTMB's numbers for Battle Creek, show a drop of unemployed from 10,000 to 6,700, and the rate dropped from 15.3% to 10.9% from June to July 2020. For Metro Grand Rapids, the rate dropped from 12% to 8.4%.

For Kalamazoo-Portage, the unemployment rate dropped from 11.9% to 8.7% (21,200 unemployed in June to 15,000 in July.) But, for perspective, a year ago (July 2019) only 7,700 people were unemployed, less than half of July 2020's number.

As far as rankings go, Allegan County's unemployment rate (7.6%) puts it at 8th lowest in the state, just slightly better than adjacent Barry County (7.9%) at 12th. Kalamazoo  and Kent Counties are 32nd at 8.7%, just ahead of Branch County. Calhoun County is ranked 72nd out of 83 counties in Michigan.

The statistics can be misleading as the state says "seasonally un-adjusted payroll jobs in Michigan rose slightly over the month by 38,000, or 1.0 percent, to 3,927,000. Minor job gains were seen in most statewide industries."

There's still a long way to go to get even close to where we were before pandemic hit earlier this year., and there are still many small businesses waiting for the green light to open up again.

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