FRI AM News: Wisconsin sees more jobs, decreasing unemployment rate; WisBusiness podcast features Eric Borgerding, Wisconsin Hospital Association

— This week’s episode of “WisBusiness: The Podcast” features Eric Borgerding, president and CEO of the Wisconsin Hospital Association.

The state Department of Health Services will distribute $40 million in aid to Wisconsin hospitals by the second week of July. Funds stem from the CARES Act coronavirus relief package to make up for the lost revenue and increased expenses from the pandemic. 

While the $40 million is greatly appreciated among Wisconsin hospitals and WHA, Borgerding said he hopes the door is open for more. He estimates that losses number $2.5 billion in lost revenue.

“We’re grateful for $40 million from the state, we truly are, but in the context of things, that’s about a day’s worth of lost net revenue to our health system,” he said.

And that loss is expected to continue week after week, diminishing over time, but still stacking up. Borgerding attributes the continuing loss to low public confidence in going to the hospital and a shifting payer mix.

“It’s kind of a one-two punch on healthcare right now,” Borgerding said. 

He explained that hospitals, doctors and clinics are reimbursed from different payer sources. As people lose their jobs, they lose their commercial insurance and transition to no insurance or Medicaid which doesn’t cover the full costs of care. That leaves the hospital systems to pick up the rest of the check. 

“We have some of the best quality of healthcare in the country here in Wisconsin,” Borgerding said, adding that the state has hospitals in its large metropolitan areas as well as rural communities. 

“Great healthcare, good quality health care that Wisconsin has is really an asset, an economic development asset for Wisconsin, he said. “Health care is so critical to Wisconsin and we really need to make sure we sustain a strong health care system.” 

Listen to the podcast, sponsored by UW-Madison: 

— Almost half of Wisconsin businesses responding to a recent survey continued to introduce or expand online services over the last three months. 

The survey was created by the Madison Region Economic Partnership and eight other regional economic development groups, and conducted by UW-Oshkosh. The data reflects results from 744 statewide businesses from June 1-13. 

The survey found that businesses continue to seek financial assistance, with 60 percent of respondents requesting assistance and over 52 percent receiving aid. Also from the survey, estimates of business survivability increased with only 10 percent of respondents projecting survivability of less than three months.

“It will be important to continue to assess this measure throughout the summer,” said MadREP President Paul Jadin in a statement. “Many businesses will continue to operate with significant restrictions, and we need to understand the impact to appropriately respond and support those businesses, so they are able to survive.”

But the June survey of business yielded a significant decrease in results from over 1,100 responses in May and over 2,400 results received in April. 

Jeffrey Sachse, interim director of the Center for Customized Research and Services, attributes the decline in participation to low survivability and non-responses in May’s survey. 

“We noted a strong correlation among businesses that reported low survivability and non-response in the May survey results,” he said. “This trend continued this month.” 

A decrease in responses was also anticipated due to the beginning of the summer tourism season and as business owners continue the process of reopening just three weeks after “Safer at Home” ended. 

According to the release, the results are estimated from self-reported data and have a 3 percent margin of error.

See more on the survey:

— Wisconsin added 74,900 jobs last month as the unemployment rate hit 12 percent, a drop of 1.6 points from April.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics survey to establish the rate was conducted May 11-15. That means it reflects two days of Evers administration’s extended stay-at-home order being lifted after the state Supreme Court overturned it May 13.

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and released yesterday by the state’s Department of Workforce Development show the declining unemployment rate mirroring the national trend. But the Badger State’s new unemployment rate was 1.3 percentage points lower than the national rate of 13.3 percent.

Wisconsin added 74,900 total non-farm jobs, including 72,100 private-sector jobs, from April to May.

Wisconsin’s total non-farm jobs have declined by 387,700 since May 2019, with private-sector jobs accounting for 338,100 of those.

DWD Chief Economist Dennis Winters said Wisconsin has an advantage over other states in that it has a fairly diversified economy both by industry and by geography.

“One of the things we’ve seen is that the declines in manufacturing employment have been less than totals and certainly less than some of the other sectors,” such as hospitality and retail, he told reporters in a DWD briefing. “And we know that Wisconsin has a high concentration of manufacturing jobs across the total employment. So that’s one reason I think we’re doing better than a lot of other places.”

However, some industries are seeing little increase or negative patterns, including mining and logging, said Winters.

He added that regions in the state with a concentration of industries doing well are also likely seeing lower unemployment rates. The local numbers will be released next week Wednesday.

“May’s job numbers show a strong increase in jobs, employment, and an unemployment rate that is more than a full percentage point lower than the national rate,” DWD Secretary Caleb Frostman said in a statement. “As Wisconsin’s economy continues to reopen, DWD stands ready to assist workers as they transition back to their former employer, or to new employment.”

See the release: 

— The state saw an uptick in confirmed COVID-19 cases yesterday with 422, the most in one day since June 4.

That brings the cumulative case count to 23,454, though DHS data shows 76 percent have recovered and 3 percent have died.

The state recorded 10,599 tests, far short of the state’s daily testing capacity of 17,668 tests. 

Along with the uptick in cases, the percentage of positive tests rose to 4.1 percent. The percentage of positive tests hasn’t been above the 2 to 3 percent range since 4.2 percent tested positive June 4. 

To date, the state has administered over 447,000 tests, with the Wisconsin National Guard responsible for administering over 139,000 of those.

The National Guard has ongoing coronavirus testing sites statewide, supporting the state’s initiative to increase COVID-19 testing. A total of 25 specimen collection teams made up of nearly 500 citizen-soldiers and airmen are involved in the mobile testing sites.

Community-based testing sites are located at the community center in Iron River in Bayfield County, Alliant Energy Center in Dane County, United Migrant Opportunity Services and Custer Stadium in Milwaukee County, Horlick High School in Racine County and Baraboo High School in Sauk County.

The Guard is conducting site-based testing at the Wisconsin Secure Program Facility in Grant County, the Racine Correctional Institute and a senior-living facility in Caledonia in Racine County.

— COVID-19 hospitalizations hit all-time lows yesterday, starting with ICU patients numbering 82. 

That’s a record low number since the Wisconsin Hospital Association started recording on April 2. Total COVID-19 patients number 241 and COVID-19 inpatients with pending tests number 182, both counts resembling early April. 

About 68 percent of those patients — 163 — are in southeastern Wisconsin, which is also seeing its lowest number since April 2. 

Of the state’s confirmed cases, 13 percent have been hospitalized and 3 percent have received intensive care, according to DHS.

The department also reports that 34 or fewer patients are in each of the six other public health regions of the state.

WHA data show that statewide, Wisconsin seems to have a stable and adequate supply of beds and ventilators.

Hospitals, however, continue to lack personal protective equipment for health care workers.

The WHA data show that 30 hospitals have a seven-day or less supply of face shields, 41 have a limited supply of goggles, 33 have limited N95 masks, 36 have a limited supply of gowns and 31 hospitals have limited paper medical masks.

Health care workers account for about 10 percent of confirmed COVID-19 cases — 22,305 — an increase of 33 cases over Wednesday.

See the WHA dashboard here: 

— The state’s COVID-19 death count is at 719, seven more deaths since the last count.

Milwaukee County had four more deaths while Clark, Dane and Waukesha counties each had one more. 

The number of recovered patients continues to rise, now at an estimated 76 percent, while 3 percent of patients have died. Twenty-one percent are still in a 30-day waiting period of symptom onset or diagnosis.

Counties reporting deaths include: Milwaukee (360), Racine (56), Brown (39), Kenosha (36), Waukesha (36), Dane (32), Rock (22), Walworth (17), Ozaukee (15), Grant (12), Washington (12), Winnebago (10), Outagamie (8), Fond du Lac (6), Clark (5), Dodge (5), Waupaca (5), Jefferson (4), Richland (4) and Sheboygan (4).

Door, Marinette and Sauk counties report three deaths each. Adams, Buffalo, Calumet and Forest counties report two deaths each.

Bayfield, Burnett, Columbia, Green, Iron, Jackson, Juneau, Kewaunee, Manitowoc, Marathon, Marquette, Monroe, Polk and Wood counties report one death each.

Click here for more coronavirus resources and updates: 

— DHS is currently conducting 613 facility-wide investigations across the state, 66 more than last week.

Non-health care workplace investigations account for 291 of the current investigations, followed by 205 happening in long-term care facilities.

Long-term care facilities in the state are reporting 301 deaths due to COVID-19, making up 42 percent of total deaths in Wisconsin due to the virus. These include nursing homes and assisted living facilities, such as community-based residential facilities and residential care apartment complexes. 

Thirty-nine of the investigations are in group housing facilities including correctional facilities, homeless shelters, dormitories and group homes that have identified 36 COVID-19 deaths, or 5 percent of the state’s total. 

One hundred and eighty of the state’s COVID-19 deaths were not linked to group housing facilities, but 195 deaths are categorized as “unknown,” meaning they may or may not have occurred at these facilities. 

According to DHS, the unknown category exists because relevant information has only been collected since April 8. 

Over 19 percent of confirmed COVID-19 patients who have died in the state were over 90 years old, while about 24 percent were between 80 and 89 years old. Over 26 percent were between 70 and 79, and roughly 17 percent were between 60 and 69. 

DHS is also conducting investigations in health care facilities (21) and “other settings” (57). A majority of the investigations are taking place in Milwaukee (119), Brown (89), Racine (71) and Waukesha (61) counties.

There have been a total of 759 investigations, with 146 investigations closed. An investigation is considered closed and removed from the DHS listing 28 days after the last positive case was confirmed.

Click here to see the facilities under investigation and a breakdown by county: 


# Food and drink service sector majority of applications for WEDC’s $75M grant program

# Two new COVID-19 deaths in Clark County; cases spiking in Trempealeau County

# Milwaukee Public Schools Terminates Contract With Milwaukee Police Department



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– Senate Ensures Funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund 


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– Foxconn says it will make 10,000 ventilators for Medtronic over the next year 


– Advocate Aurora expansion to Michigan wouldn’t hurt Milwaukee: Civic leaders 

– Brown County has state’s most workplaces under COVID-19 investigation, records show 

– La Crosse County announces 22 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday 


– Joe Biden’s team formulates plans for streaming, ‘smaller gatherings’ outside Milwaukee during DNC: CNN 

– 40 Under 40 Black leader’s call to action for business, government leaders 


– Marcus Investments plans to soon start buying more shopping centers   

– Kroger CEO: Digital sales have soared more than 100% last two months 


– Wisconsin small businesses can’t withstand another Covid-19 economic setback, state leaders say 


– Green Bay Packers will hold virtual shareholders meeting in July because of pandemic 

– WIAA releases guidance plan to resume summer activities beginning July 1 


– MKE Tech Hub to appoint board member that reflects diversity 


– Hotel occupancy grows, Visit Milwaukee resumes marketing  

– Ballpark Commons stadium renamed under new tourism agreement, golf suites coming 2021 


– Shining light on energy options, Wisconsin brothers grow with solar business 


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