Michigan’s economy has improved at one of the best rates in the country. But what’s being done about inflation and gas prices?
Need to Know
- Michigan’s unemployment rate is on one of the best trends in the country.
- Whitmer and other leaders have asked Congress to temporarily suspend the federal gas tax.
- Michiganders could be in for other sources of relief, from tax breaks to refund checks for cars.
MICHIGAN—Make it nine consecutive months that Michigan has added jobs, continuing a trend where the state has bucked the economic downturn caused by COVID-19.
Michigan has also had the third-best rate of improvement in unemployment numbers, but recent news reports have suggested that Michigan consumers are worried about the gas prices and inflation, especially given the war in Ukraine.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and her administration have pointed to several programs to help ease the load on consumers, even as prices continue to increase.
“We will keep our foot on the gas and stay focused on growing our economy, creating good-paying jobs, and lowering costs for families,” Whitmer said in a press release.
Michigan residents and businesses can expect several forms of relief coming their way shortly, as the state rolls out long-awaited programs in the new year.
First, Michigan car owners who are insured in the state can expect a $400 check in their mailbox soon for each car they own. The firsts of these checks went out last week, and drivers shouldn’t receive them later than May.
Meanwhile, businesses that survived COVID-19 are also eligible to recoup some of the financial shortfall they experienced because of the pandemic.
Whitmer also called on Congress to suspend the federal gas tax, joining a bipartisan group of governors trying to alleviate pain at the pump. The federal gas tax requires drivers to pay another 18 cents for every gallon, and Whitmer and other governors have pointed out that funding from President Biden’s infrastructure law could cover those expenses. However, Whitmer has opposed a state gas tax cut currently being debated, the Detroit News reports.
The governor is also negotiating the state’s new budget, which as proposed by Whitmer could cut taxes for working families and elderly Michiganders. She and the legislature are debating exactly what will be included, as the state carries a record surplus.
“Michigan’s economy is growing, and unemployment is decreasing faster than almost every other state,” Whitmer said. “Job growth has continued steadily for nine months straight, and wages and home values are going up. This is something to celebrate.”
Despite difficult external circumstances, Michigan business owners seem generally pleased with the direction of the state.
In a recent survey conducted by the nonprofit Business Leaders for Michigan, 70% of executives said they expect the economy to improve over the next six to 12 months. Seven of 10 also said their business was doing better than prior to the pandemic.
The survey was conducted prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
A top concern business leaders identified is the number of people who are still looking to work to fill open jobs.
“The historic state budget surplus gives Michigan a unique chance to increase the number of people with degrees and credentials and remove barriers to work, helping solve these talent gaps,” said Jeff Donofrio, President and CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan.