Wisconsin fared better than both the national average and all four of its neighboring states in terms of the percentage of jobs lost during the first six months of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report.
The report, released Thursday by the nonpartisan Wisconsin Policy Forum, found that between September 2019 and September 2020, Wisconsin saw a 5.2% drop in total jobs, compared with 5.3% in Iowa, 7.4% in Minnesota, 7.8% in Illinois and 7.9% in Michigan. Nationwide job loss was 6.8% over that span, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“In this region, only Iowa rivals Wisconsin in limiting its employment losses during this period,” the report states. “Since then, more recent monthly survey data running through January show relatively modest changes in overall employment in Wisconsin compared to September and to other states.”
At the same time, Wisconsin was still down more than 150,000 jobs by September of last year compared with a year prior. Businesses that rely on face-to-face interactions with customers were the hardest hit, particularly those in leisure and hospitality, which saw an 18.8% drop in jobs over that span.
The Forum’s report notes Wisconsin’s large manufacturing sector saw a 5.5% drop in employment, accounting for more than 26,000 jobs, between September 2019 and September 2020, compared with a 6.8% drop in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota and Michigan. Wisconsin’s percentage of jobs lost during the pandemic was lower than neighboring states in nearly every sector.