Metro Milwaukee lost nearly 108,000 jobs in April

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Last updated on May 28th, 2020 at 02:32 pm

The four-county Milwaukee metro area lost nearly 108,000 jobs in April, a 12.4% drop from March’s employment total.

The April jobs report was the first to show the impact of the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic because of survey timing. The statewide jobs report released last week showed the loss of 386,000 jobs and an unemployment rate of 14.1%

While Milwaukee, Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington counties combined to lose 107,600 jobs, the decline was not the largest percentage drop in the state. The Eau Claire area lost 14,900 jobs, a 17.1% decline and the Madison metro area lost 67,500 jobs, a 16.5% decline.

Racine County, which lost 6,300 jobs, had the best performance among Wisconsin’s metro areas with an 8.1% decline.

Metro Milwaukee’s not seasonally adjusted unemployment rate jumped from 3.2% in March to 14.5% in April. The biggest increases were in Fond du Lac, which increased 13.3 percentage points to 16.3%, and the Janesville-Beloit area, which jumped 13.2 points to 17%.

Among municipalities, Fitchburg had the lowest unemployment rate at 9.9%, up from 2.1% in March. Superior had the highest at 21.1%, followed by Manitowoc at 19% and Sheboygan at 18.5%.

Milwaukee’s unemployment rate jumped to 16.8% from 4.1%.

The April data is based on surveys done the week of April 12. While Wisconsin has continued to see elevated levels of initial unemployment claims, Dennis Winters, chief economist at the state Department of Workforce Development, said it was unlikely the state unemployment rate would climb much higher, pointing to a leveling-off of continuing claims.

Statewide claims reached 321,063 the week of April 12 and have trended down to 308,890 the first full week of May. Across the southeastern Wisconsin area, all eight counties have seen an increase in continuing claims, including a 20% jump in Milwaukee County.

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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