Graham Kilmer

Milwaukee Unemployment Higher than National Average

County slightly higher, but city well above national average.

By - Sep 25th, 2020 02:29 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.

Milwaukee continues to have an unemployment rate above the national average.

The unemployment rate nationally was 8.4 percent in August and 6.2 percent across the state.

The latest data from the state Department of Workforce Development (DWD) shows that in August, Milwaukee County went from 10.1 percent unemployment in July to 8.9 percent in August — The fourth worst improvement in unemployment out of Wisconsin’s 72 counties. In August 2019, the unemployment rate was 4.4 percent in Milwaukee County.

Meanwhile, the City of Milwaukee saw its unemployment rate drop from 11.4 percent in July to 10.1 percent in August. Still, this rate is nearly double what the unemployment rate in the city was at this time last year.

The unemployment rate for the Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis metropolitan statistical area in August was 7.4 percent.

Last week, Gov. Tony Evers asked DWD secretary Caleb Frostman to resign citing the long delays faced by people trying to access state unemployment insurance. Evers said, “People across our state are struggling to make ends meet, and it is unacceptable that Wisconsinites continue to wait for the support they need during these challenging times.”

Evers also pointed to historic levels of claims, a system hindered by Republican legislative roadblocks and antiquated technology for the failures. But he said the department needs to identify new solutions to the problems and he said Department of Corrections Deputy Secretary Amy Pechacek “has the leadership and skill sets we need,” as she is being tapped by the governor to lead the department.

In the seven days since the last time Urban Milwaukee reported on unemployment figures, the state saw nearly 15,000 new claims for unemployment insurance. During that time last year, there were just over 3,100 initial claims.

There were 870,000 new unemployment claims in the U.S. last week. Additionally, there were 630,080 claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance or (PUA). Taken together, more than 1.5 million people applied for some type of unemployment assistance last week.

For the past six months, the U.S. has seen new claims for unemployment assistance topping one million a week. At times, well above one million.

As of the beginning of September, there are more than 26 million people still relying on some type of unemployment assistance. One recent estimate from the Economic Policy Institute, a non-partisan think tank based in Washington D.C., puts the number of people affected by the unemployment crisis at 33 million.

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Categories: Economics, Health

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