Graham Kilmer

Milwaukee Unemployment Rising

The recovery is over as every part of the state is seeing unemployment increase.

By - Nov 25th, 2020 05:48 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.

After several months of improving job growth, unemployment is rising in Milwaukee again.

In the city of Milwaukee, unemployment rose from 8.2% in September to 8.6% in October, according to numbers released by the state Department of Workforce Development (DWD). Unemployment in the county as a whole rose from 7.2% to 7.6% in October.

DWD uses data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics monthly jobs report for these figures.

The unemployment rate for the state rose in October, as well, from 5.4% to 5.7%. In fact, every metropolitan statistical area in the state saw an increase in unemployment last month. The Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis statistical area went from 5.9% to 6.3% unemployment.

The state ended October with a net-loss of 14,700 jobs, the result of 20,900 lost jobs in the service sector. More than 5,000 jobs in the food service and accommodation industry were lost in October.

Given new job losses, and the rise in the unemployment rate, the state’s recovery from the unemployment crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic has ended — or stalled — for the time being. 

Initial unemployment claims in the state are rising. Last week there were nearly 20,000 initial unemployment claims in Wisconsin. The number of claims coming in each week have been steadily rising for the past two months. Through October, and the first two weeks of November, the state was seeing between approximately 17,000 and 18,000 claims a week.

Nationally, unemployment claims are also starting to rise again. Last week, there were 778,000 initial claims for unemployment, an increase of 30,000 over the previous week, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Labor. It marks the second week in a row that unemployment claims rose by at least 30,000. This comes after the country experienced eight straight weeks where initial claims went down.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), a federal program for individuals that aren’t eligible for traditional unemployment insurance, saw 311,675 claims last week. Taken together with traditional state unemployment insurance, there were more than 1 million initial unemployment claims last week.

Another federal program, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), has become an indicator for growth in the number of people entering long-term unemployment. The program is for people that are still unemployed, but have run out of their unemployment insurance. For months now, the number of people claiming PEUC has risen week over week.

The latest data on PEUC claims shows that as of November 7th, there were 4.5 million people claiming it. That’s an increase of more than 132,000 from the previous week.

Read the DWD local unemployment report here. Read the DWD state unemployment report here. Read the labor department report here.

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Categories: Business, Economics

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