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Best of Bridge Michigan: The top business stories of 2020

This week, Bridge Michigan is revisiting some of its most impactful stories from 2020, a year like few others. Today, we examine our top articles about business.


The pandemic wrought untold damage on Michigan, as lockdowns and state-ordered business closures to stop its spread prompted more than 2.1 million unemployment claims by June. In May, 1 in 4 workers in Michigan were unemployed.

Unemployment has since fallen, but the fallout continues, as entire industries are teetering and families struggle to make ends meet.

Bridge Michigan has spent this holiday week revisiting past stories from a momentous year. 

Forecasts say Michigan’s economy will still be struggling in 2023

When will this end? University of Michigan economists are forecasting economic effects over more than two year, even with the vaccine – and, they presume, enough federal financial support to struggling industries and workers.  — Paula Gardner


New grocery in Grand Rapids is about more than food. It’s about equity too.

Grand Rapids native Alita Kelly is opening a permanent farmers market-style store in a neighborhood where fresh food options are limited and at a time when research shows Black-owned businesses are closing faster than others.  — Paula Gardner

Michigan town wonders what’s next after factory closes and 125 jobs are lost

Permanent layoffs climbed in the second half of 2020, leaving some small Michigan towns concerned about their employment base. This story about Evart is just one example of how, even if the workers find new jobs, the community feels the pressure when factories close.  — Paula Gardner

Michigan college towns were economically stable. Coronavirus changed that

Michigan’s college towns like Ann Arbor and East Lansing  used to be called “recession-proof,” but coronavirus changed that. The cities are still determining just how financially vulnerable they’re becoming as their top employer and driver of the economy pivots due to the virus.Paula Gardner

Q&A: Michigan’s $28B life sciences industry was under the radar. Until COVID

Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine production in Michigan put a spotlight on the state’s life sciences industry, which is worth billions of dollars yet remained ‘under the radar.’ This Q&A with Stephen Rapundalo highlights the challenges and benefits in this large sector of Michigan’s economy. — Paula Gardner

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