Despite signs of recovery over the last year, Wisconsin is one of the leading states in layoffs and unemployment claims, according to the most recent federal statistics.
Only five other states — California, New York, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Florida — had more layoffs than Wisconsin during January of this year, according to the a recent report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
A separate statement by the bureau said Wisconsin leads the Midwest in terms of the most initial claims for unemployment. This January, 6,014 applications for unemployment were filed in Wisconsin, more than double the amount of claims filed in Minnesota and Iowa combined.
However, this is a 50 percent decrease from the 12,148 unemployment applications that were filed in January of last year.
Secretary for the Department of Workforce Development Reggie Newson said in an email to The Badger Herald he feels the Wisconsin economy is much better now than it was during the recession and even a year ago.
“Wisconsin’s unemployment rate has been declining,” Newson said in the email. “The latest rate of 7.1 percent is below the national rate and those of other heavy manufacturing states in the Midwest. Under Gov. Scott Walker’s leadership, Wisconsin is moving in the right direction.”
Mike Mikalsen, the spokesperson for Representative Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, echoed Newson’s thoughts. He said that while the number of new jobs created last year was not as high as the Walker administration would have hoped, he thinks that since unemployment has begun to decrease, Wisconsin is headed in the right direction.
Mikalsen also said the obstacle in the way of the expansion of Wisconsin’s economy is the recall efforts. He said businesses everywhere are wary of the political turmoil in the state and are more likely to invest elsewhere.
“The reality is when you have an economy where businesses still are unsure where the final result of the reforms are going to end up, you have a lot of businesses that are choosing not to invest more funds here, or they’re choosing to pull funds out, which will have an impact on jobs,” Mikalsen said…