Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Vos declares jobs crisis over in Wisconsin, so people can wait for $$$. Not true.

As calls continue to have the Wisconsin Legislature pass a bill getting rid of the one-week waiting period for people to get their unemployment benefits, which can be done under the new stimulus act, Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robbin' Vos says that there's no need to worry.

That's because Vos says the jobs market is back to normal in Wisconsin.
In a press conference Tuesday, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, R-Rochester, said Republican lawmakers had not discussed plans to waive the waiting week again, and he did not know where the caucus stood on the question. But Vos raised doubts about the need to waive the waiting week, arguing that stimulus spending by the federal government may be leading some to put off reentering the workforce.

"I have concerns that just extending the one-week waiting period and ... not having the requirement be in place that people have to look for work, to not just stay on unemployment, is having an unintended consequence," Vos said. "Our unemployment rate is already somewhat similar to where it was pre-pandemic ... so I don't think the problem any longer is folks being able to access the system, to be able to have the one-week waiting period, it's getting people back into the workforce to be able to find a job."
Well, the unemployment rate as a percentage of the labor force may not be very different than it was a year ago (3.8% in Jan 2021 vs 3.3% in Jan 2020). But some of that drop is because 28,500 Wisconsinites have dropped out of the work force, and our unemployment rate would be nearly a full 1% higher if we hadn't had those dropouts.

And we are still 155,000 below our peak level of jobs, which was reached in February 2020.

So unlike what Vos claims, there are still a lot of jobs and workers who have not come back. And last week's unemployment claims report showed that a lot of Wisconsinites are still losing jobs and in need of benefits. More than twice as many as the amount of people that were filing new claims pre-COVID (shown in blue vs the 2020 figures in orange), and those are the people who are now having to wait another week for benefits.

And when 12,000 Wisconsinites have to wait one week to get their unemployment benefits, that's as much $7 million or $8 million that is being taken out of the pockets of those potential consumers. And let's also note that all of that money would be paid by the Feds under current law - not a dollar would come out of the state's unemployment fund to restore the waiting week.

The passage of the stimulus act from a couple of weeks ago guaranteed that the PEUC long-term unemployment program would be extended beyond March 14. That, along with the clearup of prior delays from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development from the last stimulus bill, meant that a backlog of PEUC claims were filed in Wisconsin during the last week of February. Which resulted in a doubling of new claims being reported in that week.

PEUC claims, Wisconsin
Week of Feb 20 23,538
Week of Feb 27 46,310

So sorry Robbin' Vos, we aren't back at full employment in Wisconsin, and there are many Wisconsinites still in need of support one year after the breakout of COVID-19 across America. And given that Uncle Sam is picking up the tab, what's the point in forcing Wisconsinites to wait a week to get benefits they are entitled to?

1 comment:

  1. And sure enough, here's Senate GOP Leader Devin LeMaheiu saying there is no way the WisGOPs will waive the waiting week.

    He also claims "businesses are telling GOPs" that they can't fill jobs. Naturally, raising wages doesn't come up as a possibility. Instead, they'd rather make people that are laid off more desperate.