MON AM News: Evers blames projected unemployment rate on COVID-19; Wisconsin coronavirus deaths climb to 144

— Gov. Tony Evers blames Wisconsin’s projected 27 percent unemployment rate on COVID-19 and says containing coronavirus is necessary to prevent the rate from getting even worse. 

After boiling down national unemployment predictions, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development projects March’s unemployment rate to reach 26.8 percent.

This is a direct result of a fight with a virus and our ability to contain that virus so that we don’t have a 50 percent unemployment rate,” Evers said Friday in a Department of Health Services press call. 

And according to the Evers administration, the unemployment situation in the state is similar to the rest of the country.  

“We are seeing historic claims — I think nationally we saw back to back weeks of greater than six million new, initial unemployment claims,” said DWD Secretary Caleb Frostman in a Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce webinar. “We are seeing similar historic numbers in Wisconsin.”

National projections show that 29 percent of privately held establishments will shut down, according to Tyler Tichenor, a DWD spokesman. “We assume shutdowns are proportionately distributed across firm employment size.” 

That means 48,619 Wisconsin business establishments would be closed, affecting 724,362 employees.

“Using the 724,362 figure of out-of-work employees against the latest February Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) workforce number of 3,109,100 yields an unemployment rate of 23.3 percent,” said Tichenor. 

“If we add in the 108,900 already unemployed in the February LAUS report, the unemployment rate would stand at approximately 26.8 percent,” he said.

“We have to make sure unemployment insurance is there for people,” said Evers, adding that people need to be able to get unemployment “right away” instead of waiting a week.

“But at the end of the day, that unemployment rate is not what we want,” he said. “The way that we solve that is to take on the public health emergency in the most proactive way possible to bring people’s jobs back where we existed before this pandemic.” 

— The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reports 144 deaths in Wisconsin due to COVID-19 and 3,341 confirmed cases. 

That’s 16 more deaths and 273 new cases since Friday. 

Of those confirmed cases, 29 percent have been hospitalized, according to DHS.

Counties reporting the most deaths are Milwaukee (88), Dane (12), Ozaukee (9) and Waukesha (7). 

Racine County reports four deaths. Washington and Rock counties report three deaths each.

Fond du Lac, Kenosha, Outagamie, Sauk and Sheboygan counties report two deaths each.

Brown, Grant, Iron, Buffalo, Columbia, Marathon, Waupaca and Winnebago counties report one death each.

Twenty percent of patients who have tested positive for coronavirus are between the ages of 50-59. This is followed by people 60-69 (18 percent) and 40-49 (16 percent).

In Wisconsin, women make up 53 percent of the confirmed cases, but account for 40 percent of deaths. Meanwhile, men make up 47 percent of confirmed cases, but account for 60 percent of the total deaths. 

Click here for coronavirus resources and information.

— The Wisconsin Dairy Association praises the Minnesota Milk Producers Association’s dairy recovery plan over the remedy presented by the National Milk Producers Federation-International Dairy Foods Association. 

“While we applaud the NMPF-IDFA for the urgency they have brought to the current crisis, the Wisconsin Dairy Alliance finds a stronger proposal originating from our neighbors to the west,” said WDA in a statement. 

The Minnesota association is pitching the Dairy CORE Program, which according to WBA, preserves the best parts of the NMPF-IDFA plan, such as direct relief payments to producers. But eliminates “baked-in flaws” that could “undermine that effort’s success.”

See the release: 


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– US banks to report earnings under shadow of coronavirus


– UW System projects nearly $170M hit due to coronavirus precautions

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– Evers says application submitted to develop alternative care facility at Alliant Energy Center in Madison


– Milwaukee election officials’ Zoom meeting was briefly hacked


– Restaurants seek changes to CARES Act


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