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State lawmakers try to figure out Michigan's unemployment disaster

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Posted at 5:36 AM, May 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-14 05:36:17-04

LANSING, Mich. — State lawmakers are trying to figure out where the breakdown was that caused the unemployment disaster Michigan is seeing right now.

Unemployment Insurance Agency Director Steve Gray says the COVID-19 pandemic hit too fast to really plan ahead. He says they were already taking steps to plan for a recession, and used some of that planning for the current crisis.

Part of the planning was upgrading the phone system last fall. Gray says this pandemic showed a lot of the flaws in unemployment across the country.

"The last two months have magnified areas where past decisions at the state and federal level that have made it harder for people to get benefits in a crisis," Gray said.

Gray told lawmakers if they change the law so the agency doesn't have to look at past jobs to determine unemployment eligibility, it would speed up the system to get people paid faster.

Governor Whitmer has done that with an executive order, but that goes away when the state of emergency ends.

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