Graham Kilmer

1 in 5 Workers File For Unemployment During Pandemic

18 percent of the U.S. workforce has lost their job since the start of the pandemic.

By - Apr 30th, 2020 06:24 pm
On March 19th, the downtown Milwaukee Punch Bowl Social laid off 91 employees. Photo by Jennifer Rick.

On March 19th, the downtown Milwaukee Punch Bowl Social laid off 91 employees. Photo by Jennifer Rick.

The number of Americans that have filed for unemployment since the start of the pandemic passed 30 million last week.

The U.S. Department of Labor released new unemployment claim numbers Thursday for the week ending April 25. During that time 3.8 million people filed for unemployment. Add that to the numbers since the beginning of March and 30.8 million people have filed for unemployment.

The COVID-19 pandemic has lead to an unprecedented shutdown of economic activity, approximately one in five U.S. workers have lost their job, that’s 18 percent of the 163 million person labor force in the United States that has lost their job in less than two months.

In Wisconsin, more than 41,000 people filed for unemployment in the past seven days. During that same seven day period last year there were 4,145 claims for unemployment.

The personal finance website WalletHub has been keeping track of the rates of increase in unemployment claims state by state. Last week Wisconsin had the sixth lowest rate of increase in their unemployment claims. This week the state is in the same position, sixth again.

Increasing unemployment also means that the number of people without health insurance is increasing. The Economic Policy Institute, a non-partisan think tank based in Washington, D.C., estimates that 12.7 million workers have lost their health insurance since the start of the pandemic.

The economic devastation is beginning to put political pressure on leaders attempting to deal with the virus. In Wisconsin, Gov. Tony Evers and Secretary of the Department of Health Services Andrea Palm have faced increasing pressure from the state’s GOP leaders to reopen businesses across the state.

The state’s largest business lobby, Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, has started pushing their plan to reopen the state by May 1st.

One economist told Urban Milwaukee in the beginning of the pandemic that the economic devastation from opening too soon would likely be worse than the pain that comes from waiting to open until the virus has been adequately contained.

If you think stories like this are important, become a member of Urban Milwaukee and help support real, independent journalism. Plus you get some cool added benefits, all detailed here.

Categories: Business

One thought on “1 in 5 Workers File For Unemployment During Pandemic”

  1. Billlau says:

    Giving tenants housing vouchers stops almost all evictions. No clogged courts, no boarded houses, the city gets its taxes. Problem solved. Extending the eviction moratorium does not put more money into the hands of tenants when they have no job! Without meaningful financial aid from the state, nobody wins!

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us