What the COVID-19 Crisis Means for Wisconsin’s Working People
In just a few months, COVID-19 upended the Wisconsin economy. The crisis has touched nearly every worker — leaving some without jobs, others dangerously exposed at work, and sending still others to work in their homes. Transformation is dramatic, but it flows through well-worn channels. COVID-19 exposes and exacerbates Wisconsin’s long-standing and deep inequities, including the state’s Black/white disparity.
COVID-19 is transforming work more rapidly than standard data can track. Workers’ lives provide a more immediate picture. In recognition and honor of the national movement for Black lives, we begin with profiles of Black workers in Wisconsin. We are grateful to the workers who shared their experience with us.
Tracking the Crisis
In March, COVID-19’s impact on the economy was immediate. Jobs plummeted. Unemployment skyrocketed. Key data show how we are doing relative to February 2020, before the collapse.
Wisconsin has 10% fewer jobs than it did before the COVID-19 crisis hit in March 2020.
In June, Wisconsin unemployment was 2x the February 2020 unemployment rate (3.5%).
Restaurants, hotels, & more were hardest-hit; the sector lost three in ten of its jobs.
This analysis covers June 2020 data. In March, the US took dramatic steps to stop the spread of COVID-19. Many states issued stay-at-home orders and the economy contracted dramatically. Jobs fell away and unemployment spiked. …July 22, 2020
Contact: Laura Dresser, Associate Director, email@example.com, 608-695-9065 Today, COWS launched the State of Working Wisconsin 2020, which tracks the ongoing economic indicators of the COVID-19 crisis in the state. In just a few months, COVID-19 …July 22, 2020
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Pandemic Exposes and Exacerbates Black-white Disparities
Before the COVID-19 crisis, Black-white disparities in Wisconsin were among the worst in the nation. COWS documented these disparities in our 2019 report, Race in the Heartland. As COVID-19 has widened Black-white gaps nationally, Wisconsin’s racial divide, already pronounced, is likely growing as well. The response to the crisis and the recovery must focus on racial justice.