Wisconsin unemployment falls to 12% in May

Published: Jun. 18, 2020 at 12:33 PM CDT
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Wisconsin’s unemployment rate dropped to 12% in May, a month where the state’s “safer at home” order closing most nonessential businesses due to the coronavirus pandemic was in effect for two weeks before being struck down.

The rate, reported Thursday by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, was down from the revised 13.6% in April. The national unemployment rate for May was 13.3%.

Gov. Tony Evers’ “safer-at-home” order was struck down by the Wisconsin Supreme Court on May 13. That action allowed most businesses that had been closed under the state order to reopen. But local restrictions in Milwaukee and Dane counties remained in effect, limiting the ability of businesses there to quickly open. Businesses elsewhere across the state were also cautious about re-opening and re-hiring people who had been laid off.

Wisconsin added 72,100 private-sector jobs in May.

Republicans have been critical about how quickly the state has been processing the avalanche of unemployment claims. Through Monday, the department reported that 73% of claims submitted had been paid, 12% were denied and 15% were in process. The average time to receive payment was 19 days.