A Michigan unemployment petition has drawn more than 195,000 signatures, prompting an effort to expand the state’s unemployment program.
The state has more than 5.6 million unemployed.
The petition requests a statewide extension of unemployment benefits to Jan. 1, 2021.
The deadline to sign the petition is Monday.
A coalition of unions and business groups submitted the petition, which calls on Gov.
Rick Snyder to extend unemployment benefits and allow people to continue to work.
“Michigan has been a great state and it’s a great place to live,” said Michael Noll, president of the Michigan Association of Business.
“The unemployment rate is the lowest in the country, and we’re really trying to create a job that doesn’t have to be part of a disaster and needs to be filled by somebody.”
The unemployment petition also asks Snyder to issue a state of emergency.
The federal government has declared a state “emergency,” meaning the state is in an “extensive” or “severe” economic crisis.
The states unemployment rate has fallen from 9.4% in March to 7.4%, according to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In Detroit, the unemployment rate in November was 7.3%, the lowest since November 2016, the last time Detroit was hit by a natural disaster.
In the past three months, the city recorded more than 1,200 deaths and 2,600 injuries, according to figures released by the Detroit Health and Human Services Department.
Noll said that while the petition has been circulated to more than 6,000 people, it’s only a small fraction of the state population.
“There’s not enough people who’ve been impacted by this to really make it into the system.
That’s why we’re trying to make sure that it gets to a lot more people, and that they’re part of the process,” he said.
The union representing state employees, the Michigan State Employees Association, is asking Snyder to increase the state unemployment benefit to $1,000 a month.
That would make it the highest state unemployment insurance program.
That increase is in line with a proposal that Snyder floated earlier this year to increase unemployment benefits for all state employees.
The measure would have provided up to $9,000 to those who are unemployed and at least 40 hours of paid work per week, with a cap of $5,500 for people who are working part-time.
The proposal is still being debated by the state Legislature.
Snyder has said the $1 million increase would be a “burden” on the state and “would lead to a further reduction in state services.”