Wisconsin initial unemployment claims up 67% last week

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Last updated on March 30th, 2020 at 01:54 pm

More than 115,000 initial unemployment claims were filed last week in Wisconsin, according to initial count data from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.

At 115,679, last week’s total is a 67% increase from the previous week, which itself was the highest total recorded for a single week in data that goes back to 1987. It is also more than 20-times the number of claims filed at the same time last year.

Another 12,136 claims were filed on Sunday, putting the state at 199,389 claims filed since March 12, the day after President Donald Trump’s Oval Office address and the NBA suspended its season.

The initial count data from DWD, however, is different than the initial claims data released by the U.S. Department of Labor on a weekly basis. For last week, the state counted 69,342 initial claims, but after processing and verification, DOL said the state had 50,957 initial claims.

The number of claims filed so far suggests an unemployment rate of 8.98% as of March 26, according to economists at the Center for Research On the Wisconsin Economy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The state’s peak seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate during the Great Recession was 9.3% in January 2010.

Wisconsin has also seen an increase in the number of layoff notices from employers. The state has received 27 such notices covering 3,950 employees since March 18. Those notices account for more than 75% of the employees affected by layoffs this year.

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Arthur Thomas
Arthur covers manufacturing for 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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