By Carrie Lynch
Holt Journal staff reporter
In 2009, Delhi Township was hit hard by the Great Recession with an all-time high unemployment rate of 8.2 percent.
The previous year, the unemployment rate was 3.4 percent, making it almost a 5 percentage point increase in just onhe year. As of 2015, the rates have decreased to a 3 percent, the lowest the township has seen in a while.
“Michigan has been, as we are, trying to do anything we can to promote businesses,” said Delhi Township Supervisor C.J. Davis.
The unemployment rates of Delhi were pretty close to the average rates of the entire nation.
“I think what you are seeing is we are at the bottom of the pit and were either going to completely fall apart or get better, and we got better,” said Davis./
A large factor in the decrement of the unemployment rates are due to Gov. Rick Snyder’s prevailing wage law, Davis said. Under this act the majority of mechanics, laborers and workers within a specific county get a certain hourly wage which is reflective of local wage conditions.
“We got smarter with our financial policies and Michigan was the first one down so were the first ones up,” said Davis.
Judy Parrish, a single mother living with two sons currently residing in Holt, is happy she was working in East Lansing during this time.
“It was a tough time for everyone, but thinking back to it now, our town bounced back pretty quick. I was lucky enough to have a stable job at this time, but shops were having a tough time staying open in our town,” said Parrish.
“Although I have to drive further, I make more money working in East Lansing than working in Holt. East Lansing just has more people; so more people come into the restaurant, leaving me with more money,” said Parrish.
Gary Burtless, a Yale graduate and economist, said it is very difficult for a city to pull itself out of a recession without the help of the entire state or country.
“There is little at the local level cities can do. The best thing they can do would be to make the town desirable to want to work in,” said Burtless.
He says businesses can offer amenities, which will draw in people to work for their company. Also, making sure the city never goes over budgets, or never has a corrupt government are ways a town can try to keep unemployment rates low.
This explains why Delhi Township and the entire nation had similar unemployment rates the past 10 years.
Davis believes that the township will continue to thrive, especially once all of the pension payment plans expire and the new infrastructure Holt has planned for the future is complete.