Unemployment wave hitting Wausau hard

Published: May. 28, 2020 at 6:40 PM CDT
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The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development is reporting a 9.5% increase in unemployment over the past year. In April of last year, the unemployment rate in Wausau was at 2.8%. This year, we are sitting at 12.3%. Also, more than 10 times the amount of people have filed for unemployment than this time last year.

"Regular weekly claims we're at 307,506 right now. A year ago at this time we were at 22,949," said Business Services Director for the Central Wisconsin Workforce Development Board Derek Heikkinen.

The biggest impact is hitting the small businesses in retail and tourism.

"Right now, you know your retail, hospitality, and tourism markets especially in north-central Wisconsin is going to be the most adversely affected right now," Heikkinen added.

As far as the return to normal, it can be anywhere from a few months to a few years.

"Later October to the early portion of spring next year, you should see us slowly starting to bounce back. But, all the data from the national level point to it being a small multi-year bounce back in that landscape," Heikkinen explained.

For those struggling right now, Wausau Region Chamber of Commerce CEO Dave Eckmann suggests going to the Workforce Development Center to see if any of your skills can translate to another job.

"That will allow people to take a step up in terms of their economic well being, where they can reach to a higher goal to aspire to another job, another sector. That might be more averse to dislocations and layoffs," Eckmann stated.

For a link to those programs click