Wisconsin unemployment rate increases to 14.1% in April


Closed signs were seen across Wisconsin beginning in mid-march due to COVID-19 and the inital “Safer at Home” order, causing hundreds of thousands of people in the state to lose their jobs.

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development says the unemployment rate for April is 14.1%, which is up from 3.1% in March.

“14.1 seasonally adjusted for Wisconsin is the highest rate we’ve seen in a long long time,” said Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Chief Economist Dennis Winters​. “With the great recession, we didn’t quite get to 10%, I think for the national number peaked out at 10% and if you go back to the double dip recession in the 80’s, we never saw anything this high.”

The unemployment rate this month is a severe hit, according to the Wisconsin DWD, that has caused the badger state to lose 439,400 non-farm jobs and 385,900 private sector jobs between March and April.

“What it means is the economy has taken a pretty severe hit in a very rapid manner and what we’re doing is these numbers are telling us the extent of that and we are measuring the effects of the situation through this data,” said Winters.

April was the first, full month of Wisconsin’s “Safer at Home” order. Winters says this explains the sudden jump in numbers between March and April.

“The survey is done in the week that contains thr 12th of the month so the 12th of March was just a very early cusp, I guess, of the effects that were going on with the virus and the economic criteria and restrictions that were put in place at the national level and local level,” said Winters.

Winters says because the “Safer at Home” order extension was struck down by the State Supreme Court and businesses are starting to open back up, there may soon be a decrease in unemployment numbers across Wisconsin.

“We would expect that as businesses open up that they will re-hire some of their workers in the extent that they hire these workers will depend on the demand for the businesses and how much they can open up, so we would expect in the certain sectors that are hiring now,” said Winters.

The Wisconsin DWD says they aren’t sure what to expect yet for the economy next month.

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