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.

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Worker Experiences

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.

 

Michael

“I know I’m gonna have to find a new profession.”
More about Michael

Demetrica

“They’re making it very hard to live right now.”
More about Demetrica

Anthony

“We had a good team and a nice support system with our union.”
More about Anthony

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.

299,600

Jobs Lost

Wisconsin has 10% fewer jobs than it did before the COVID-19 crisis hit in March 2020.

8.5%

Unemployment

In June, Wisconsin unemployment was 2x the February 2020 unemployment rate (3.5%).

88,600

Leisure/Hospitality
Jobs Lost

Restaurants, hotels, & more were hardest-hit; the sector lost three in ten of its jobs.

Explore the Data

The impact of COVID-19 is fast-moving and frequently changing. Dig deeper into this federal data.
Explore the Data

 

Analyzing the Numbers

Our up to date analysis of what the data say about the collapse and tentative recovery.
Read the Analysis

 

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Guest Spotlight

We Cannot Rest: Information & Inspiration to Make Good Trouble

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By Michele Mackey
Forward Community Investments Interim CEO & Kids Forward COO (on loan)

Updates

  • June Analysis: Historic Losses followed by Strong Recovery

    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. …

  • State of Working Wisconsin: Now Live

    Contact: Laura Dresser, Associate Director, ldresser@cows.org, 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 …

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