Southeast Wisconsin accounts for more of state’s initial unemployment claims last week

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Another 49,910 initial unemployment claims were filed in Wisconsin last week and the state had 321,631 continuing unemployment claims, according to data from the U.S. Department of Labor.

While it is the first time the state has seen less than 50,000 claims in a week since early March, it is still nine times the average number of claims filed in the four weeks before the coronavirus hit.

County-level data released by the state Department of Workforce Development also shows a larger percentage of those claims came from southeastern Wisconsin than in previous weeks. The eight counties in the BizTimes coverage area accounted for 36.6% of last week’s claims, up from an average of 33.2% during the previous five weeks.

Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, the region averaged around 30.5% of initial claims

With more than 8,900 claims, Milwaukee County accounted for 17.8% of claims, up from an average of 15.9% of statewide claims. The county had averaged nearly 12,200 claims per week for the previous five weeks.

Waukesha County had the second most claims at 3,234, accounting for 6.5% of claims, up from an average 5.8%. During the last five weeks, Waukesha averaged 4,500 claims per week.

Among other large counties, Dane County accounted for 6.7% of claims last week at 3,370. The county had averaged nearly 5,900 claims per week for the last five weeks.

Brown County accounted for 4.6% of claims at 2,280. It had averaged more than 3,400 claims for the last five weeks.

Statewide, just six counties saw an increase in claims compared to their average from the previous five weeks of the crisis. Those counties: Florence, Juneau, Marinette, Menominee, Waupaca and Rusk, combined to account for 1,808 claims.

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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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