Michigan weathers highest unemployment with lowest benefits

BY NICK MCWHERTER
Capital News Service
LANSING- Michigan has the weakest jobless benefits system in the Midwest, even though its unemployment rate has been the highest in the region over the past five years, according to a recent report. The Michigan League for Human Services reports that in the Midwest Michigan:
• Pays the lowest maximum benefits
• Is least likely to insure an unemployed worker
• Offers the lowest unemployment insurance benefits
• Provides the fewest weeks of basic unemployment insurance
One factor contributing to the poor rating is that the maximum weekly benefit has only been raised twice since 1994, said Karen Holcomb-Merrill, policy director for the league. “In 1994 the maximum was $293 a week and now it is at $362 a week, ” she said. Other states have kept pace with inflation. The problems started before the recession.