Paula Gardner

Paula Gardner is Bridge’s first business editor, joining the team in April 2020. Paula will be leading our new dive into business reporting, emphasizing Michigan’s economy and policy issues that affect it, along with stories about the people, decisions and changes on the front lines of business in our state.  Her career includes several years at MLive.com, where she was editor of The Ann Arbor News, statewide business reporter and part of an award-winning environmental coverage team that helped uncover and dig into Michigan’s PFAS crisis. Among her honors is an award naming her Michigan’s Journalist of the Year in 2019 from the Michigan Press Association. Paula’s experience includes leading the news team at AnnArbor.com, a digital news startup launched in 2009 that generated company-leading audience growth.  Before that, she worked at Michigan Business Review, the Detroit Free Press and the Ypsilanti Press. Paula moved from Dearborn Heights to attend the University of Michigan, then never left the greater Ann Arbor area after graduation. Find her as Paula_Gardner on Twitter or pgardner@bridgemi.com

Articles

6 lessons Michigan restaurants and bars can learn from Florida's reopening

6 lessons Michigan restaurants and bars can learn from Florida's reopening

May 21, 2020 | Paula Gardner

Some Michigan restaurants can reopen this weekend, but COVID-19 is still changing the industry. These lessons from Florida, which reopened dining room access earlier this month, offer insight into how the new rules are reshaping business.

Midland flooding highlights Michigan’s aging stockpile of neglected dams

Midland flooding highlights Michigan’s aging stockpile of neglected dams

May 20, 2020 | Paula Gardner, Meghanlata Gupta

The state’s 2,581 dams, many aging and in need of repair, get little attention from legislators, but their maintenance and costs raise concerns, particularly as water levels rise in Michigan.

Over 1.7 million applicants push Michigan unemployment system to the brink

Over 1.7 million applicants push Michigan unemployment system to the brink

May 13, 2020 | Paula Gardner

State legislators got their first look at overall jobless claims Wednesday after two months of coronavirus layoffs. Eight percent of applicants still await payments.

Long-term changes proposed for Michigan’s unemployment system

Long-term changes proposed for Michigan’s unemployment system

May 12, 2020 | Paula Gardner

With 1.3 million residents filing for jobless benefits, the system is under a spotlight. Now, some policy experts and Democrats say, it’s time to revise it. Business leaders aren’t sure.

Michigan restaurants give Gretchen Whitmer a roadmap for opening May 29

Michigan restaurants give Gretchen Whitmer a roadmap for opening May 29

May 8, 2020 | Paula Gardner

No opening date has been announced for the state’s restaurant industry, which lost over $1 billion in sales during April. Now the industry is outlining what it thinks it needs to do to reopen — and it wants the OK to start planning.

Michigan jobless claims top 1.1 million as state streamlines approvals

Michigan jobless claims top 1.1 million as state streamlines approvals

May 7, 2020 | Paula Gardner

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order this week, changing the review process for benefits. The state hopes that step gets money to unemployed workers more quickly.

Q&A with Brian Calley: 1 in 7 Michigan small businesses worry about survival

Q&A with Brian Calley: 1 in 7 Michigan small businesses worry about survival

May 7, 2020 | Paula Gardner

COVID-19 continues to pressure the state’s smallest operations, with 45 percent closed and 60 percent laying off at least one employee. Here is what an advocacy group says about the situation and what is needed next.

Michigan college towns were economically stable. Coronavirus changed that.

Michigan college towns were economically stable. Coronavirus changed that.

May 6, 2020 | Paula Gardner

Cities like Ann Arbor and East Lansing benefit from the ‘economic engines’ of their state universities. Budget shortfalls, potential layoffs and more fallout from COVID-19 now threaten their financial balance, from students shopping in local stores to how many people they employ.

‘Scary times’ for Michigan restaurants won’t end when dining rooms reopen

‘Scary times’ for Michigan restaurants won’t end when dining rooms reopen

April 30, 2020 | Paula Gardner

Coronavirus is still battering the state’s restaurant industry, which lost $1.2 billion in sales in April and saw 75 percent of workers laid off. Switching to carry-out and opening for fewer patrons may not be enough for many to survive.

Some in Michigan make more from unemployment than work during coronavirus

Some in Michigan make more from unemployment than work during coronavirus

April 26, 2020 | Paula Gardner

Businesses in the northeast Lower Peninsula say some workers are not quite ready to return to their jobs, given the boost in income they receive from special federal and state funding during the pandemic lockdown.

How some Michigan counties are insulated against coronavirus unemployment

How some Michigan counties are insulated against coronavirus unemployment

April 23, 2020 | Paula Gardner

Certain places in Michigan are losing more jobs than others. It’s the same old story in a state where manufacturing still dominates the economy in some counties.

Michigan small businesses rocked by coronavirus turn to Congress for help

Michigan small businesses rocked by coronavirus turn to Congress for help

April 17, 2020 | Paula Gardner

Programs set up to help businesses decimated by the coronavirus shutdown have run out of money or halted applications. One Michigan business owner thought his application for a portion of $349 billion in federal stimulus was set only to learn the money ran out. 

‘Depression-level’ Michigan unemployment tops 1 million from coronavirus

‘Depression-level’ Michigan unemployment tops 1 million from coronavirus

April 16, 2020 | Paula Gardner

Economists are struggling to find words to describe stunning job losses they’re seeing in the state, and they don’t know how many more will follow during the economic lockdown in a pandemic

Coronavirus could drain Michigan unemployment fund within months

Coronavirus could drain Michigan unemployment fund within months

April 14, 2020 | Paula Gardner

The crush of 1 million new claims is rapidly depleting Michigan’s unemployment fund, which could force the state to borrow money. Jobless workers would still get checks, but Michigan may have to raise business taxes to repay the debt, slowing any recovery.

Michigan food supply firm innovates, finds new markets amid coronavirus crisis

Michigan food supply firm innovates, finds new markets amid coronavirus crisis

April 13, 2020 | Paula Gardner

Like many businesses, Frog Holler Produce in Ann Arbor faced coronavirus shutdown. Until they decided to “spin the wheel” and open new lines of business.

When Michigan unemployment, stimulus checks, and $600 CARES money will arrive

When Michigan unemployment, stimulus checks, and $600 CARES money will arrive

April 9, 2020 | Paula Gardner

Your guide to unemployment and other payments as Michigan deals with the devastating economic impact of a deadly virus

Michigan now second in nation for jobless claims amid coronavirus pandemic

Michigan now second in nation for jobless claims amid coronavirus pandemic

April 9, 2020 | Jonathan Oosting, Paula Gardner

Despite widespread complaints over a sluggish website and slammed call center, the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency successfully processed 817,185 initial benefits claims between March 15 and April 4, second only to the more populous state of California.

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