Wisconsin unemployment filings surge; national record broken

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – The numbers of people filing for unemployment benefits set a new unwanted record. Nearly 3.3 million Americans filed across the country last week, smashing the record of 695,000 set back in 1982. Wisconsin was not spared from this trend.

“We’ve never seen an increase of this size particularly in this short amount of time,” said University of Wisconsin Economics Professor Noah Williams.

Wisconsin’s daily numbers show 139,540 people filed for unemployment in the last 11 days. Putting that in perspective, there are roughly three million people in Wisconsin with regular work, this doesn’t count independent contractors. The new claims mean 4.7 percent of the workforce in Wisconsin has filed for unemployment.

People who filed this week will have to wait until next week to get their first check. Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos said the Legislature still needs some information before it considers eliminating the one week waiting period.

“If we made a decision for a temporary suspension, that we do it in a way that allows folks to get their benefits but not have a  massive tax increase on small businesses who have no revenue,” said Vos.

Federal records show Wisconsin has 1.9 billion in its unemployment insurance fund. The stimulus working its way through Congress would add more money to people getting unemployment checks.

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