economy

Chuck Quirmbach / WUWM

Wisconsin's unemployment rate dropped from 13.6% in April to 12% in May, a “nice surprise” that reflects just the very beginning of the state's reopening after the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down the governor's stay-at-home order.

Carl Court / Getty Images

Many of us are about 12 weeks into being cooped up at home. Well, if we’ve followed public health guidelines to limit contact with other people. And even though the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down the state's safer-at-home order, the local hotel and Airbnb industry is still feeling the effects of people taking social distancing seriously.

It may seem obvious, with double-digit unemployment and plunging economic output. But if there was any remaining doubt that the U.S. is in a recession, it's now been removed by the official scorekeepers at the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The bureau's Business Cycle Dating Committee — the fat lady of economic opera — said the expansion peaked in February after a record 128 months, and we've been sliding into a pandemic-driven recession since.

Chuck Quirmbach

Wisconsin economic development leaders say they're still about 10 days from accepting applications for $75 million in federal grants to small businesses hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic. But state officials also say they're working on the right message for independent-minded Wisconsin.

Getty Images

More than half a million people in Wisconsin have filed for unemployment since the coronavirus outbreak, according to the latest figures from the Department of Workforce Development. But many have yet to get relief. The state has yet to pay 16% of claims.

Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Caleb Frostman says the backlog is due to the sheer volume of claims, shortage of staffing, and antiquated technology.

Updated at 9:38 a.m. ET

More than 1 in 4 U.S. workers have lost their jobs since the coronavirus crisis shut down much of the economy in March.

Just last week, another 2.1 million people filed for unemployment benefits, the Labor Department said Thursday. That's down 323,000 from the previous week but brings the total for the past 10 weeks to 40.8 million, which represents 26% of the civilian labor force in April.

Chuck Quirmbach

COVID-19 restrictions for businesses continue to differ across southeastern Wisconsin, depending on where the companies are located. Some communities are only offering recommendations for reducing the spread of the coronavirus. Other cities have kept orders.

Some of the greatest remaining differences are for the bar and restaurant industry.

The United States is still losing jobs at an alarming pace two months after the coronavirus pandemic took hold.

Another 2.4 million people filed claims for unemployment last week, the Labor Department reported Thursday. That's down 249,000 — or 9% — from the previous week, but still painfully high by historical standards.

In the past nine weeks, jobless claims have totaled 38.6 million. That's roughly one out of every four people who were working in February, before the pandemic hit.

Chuck Quirmbach

“A live experiment.” 

That's what a local business leader says we're in after this week's state Supreme Court ruling throwing out Wisconsin's safer-at-home restrictions for the COVID-19 pandemic, and subsequent decisions by Milwaukee and Milwaukee County to maintain many limits. In contrast, Waukesha County says it's only issuing health recommendations for its businesses, not orders.

Updated at 5:19 p.m. ET

Nearly 3 million people filed for unemployment benefits last week — bringing the total to 36.5 million in the past eight weeks, the Labor Department said Thursday.

The number of people filing claims has been steadily dropping for weeks, since hitting nearly 7 million during one week in March. Still, claims remain at historically high levels, suggesting that the coronavirus isn't done pummeling the U.S. economy.

Chuck Quirmbach

More Wisconsin hospitals are again offering services that were shut down while health care facilities focused on treating COVID-19 patients and urged the delay of non-urgent treatment.

We're now getting a better idea of what the loss of those other patients cost the health care industry.

Ann-Elise Henzl

Updated at 2:44 p.m. CT

Gov. Tony Evers on Monday allowed nearly all nonessential retail stores to reopen as long as they serve no more than five customers at a time, partially lifting the restriction that has kept them closed for weeks to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Outbreaks in the meat industry aren't new. In the early '90s, mad cow disease was a trade problem that affected the entire industry, halting the sale of beef worldwide. Then a large outbreak of bird flu in early 2013 was a pathogenic problem that led to thousands of birds being euthanized.

Coronavirus is a different challenge for the meat industry since it affects plants' high concentration of workers. Some meat plants have about 1,200 workers, and they're at greater risk of getting COVID-19 because they're often standing elbow-to-elbow while working.

Updated at 11:43 a.m. ET

The Labor Department delivered a historically bad employment report Friday, showing 20.5 million jobs lost last month as the nation locked down against the coronavirus. The jobless rate soared to 14.7% — the highest level since the Great Depression.

The highest monthly job loss before this was 2 million in 1945, as the nation began to demobilize after World War II. The worst monthly job loss during the Great Recession was 800,000 in March 2009.

Vitalii Vodolazskyi / stock.adobe.com

People eligible for unemployment benefits are starting to see an extra $600 a week from the federal government. That's due to Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation, which is part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. 

People who receive regular unemployment insurance, pandemic unemployment compensation, work share or trade readjustment allowances are eligible for the additional $600

Pages