Wisconsin saw less job loss during the pandemic than neighboring states, according to a Thursday report from the Wisconsin Policy Forum.
Wisconsin’s total jobs dropped 5.2% from September 2019 to September 2020, according to the nonpartisan research association, while the national percentage was 6.8%. Among neighboring states, Iowa trailed Wisconsin closely at 5.3%, while Minnesota (7.4%), Illinois (7.8%), and Michigan (7.9%) fared worse than the U.S. average.
Mark Sommerhauser, the policy forum’s communications director and policy researcher, said the report was prompted by a feeling that the pandemic’s effect was different regionally across the country.
Wisconsin fared better than neighboring states across 10 major industry sectors tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ quarterly employment and wage reports.
Industries known to have been hit hardest by the pandemic — arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodations, food services, personal care services and certain retail store sectors — accounted for 41% of jobs lost through Sept. 30 in the state. The policy forum noted that employment in these sectors made up only 17% of the state’s total employment as of March 2020, and that share declined to about 12% in April 2020.
Wisconsin’s leisure and hospitality industry employment declined less steeply, down 19%, than in neighboring states, down 24% — which was also the national average.
“As bad and as significant as that decline was here in Wisconsin, we see the example in many other places where it was significantly worse,” Sommerhauser said.
Wisconsin lost more than 26,000 manufacturing jobs year-over-year through September — down 5.5%, compared to 6.8% in neighboring states.
The leisure and hospitality and manufacturing sectors accounted for more than half the state’s job losses, the policy forum noted, and that affected which of Wisconsin’s counties had the most job losses.
The policy forum noted that Wisconsin had recovered about 74% of the jobs it lost from March to April 2020, putting it on a faster recovery pace than the national average of 57%.
Contact Nusaiba Mizan at (920)-431-8310 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @nusaiblah.