Pandemic unemployment benefits end as COVID hospitalizations increase


DETROIT – This is a milestone many did not want to see – the end of federal unemployment benefits granted during the pandemic.

Following: Michigan COVID-19 Hospitalization Data Trend Tracking

The flat grill at Nanna’s Kitchen in Wyandotte stays busy all day. As area restaurants closed during the pandemic, Nanna’s Kitchen has taken over more business.

The owner said Al Gjetaj said he would need more help.

“I will wake up at 5 am and have three text messages from workers at 4:15 am saying he cannot come or ‘My mother is dead’ or this or that,” Gjetaj said. “You would be shocked how many times someone’s mother dies.”

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Manager Renee Casias said she and Gjetaj often worked open-to-close, 13 to 14 days in a row.

“I hired a client right at the table once,” Casias said. “I have a waiter who used to work here to come back, I brought her child. I brought my own child.”

Senior economist Brad Hershbein, chief employment research economist WE Upjohn, said there is already an indicator to consider.

“If we thought people were going to rush for jobs because they saw their benefits expire, today’s job release numbers were not in line with that,” Hershbein said.

Read: Stocks drop after negative jobs report, bond yields rise

Nanna’s Kitchen said they weren’t worried.

“It’s only from here,” said Casias.

“It doesn’t matter who is here or not, I’m going to open everyday and we’ll be working every day,” Gjetaj said.

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Other states ended their unemployment benefits earlier and the expected rise in job applications did not materialize. This is believed to be because many people are still wary of COVID, need child care, or have other concerns with the job market.

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