Wisconsin DWD Fails Unemployed Wisconsinites

It has been two months since Governor Evers shut down the state and should have anticipated the wave of unemployment. His incompetence is showing.

Across Wisconsin, almost a third of weekly unemployment claims (675,563 out of 2,121,906 claims) made between March 15 and May 16 are still unpaid, according to the overwhelmed Department of Workforce Development. And millions of phone calls from the thousands of people still waiting for their unemployment insurance have been consistently overloading DWD’s phone lines.

The state Department of Workforce Development on Wednesday reported that Wisconsin lost 385,900 private-sector jobs from March to April, and the unemployment rate shot up from 3.1% to 14.1%. Wisconsin is still doing slightly better than the nation as a whole. The national unemployment rate is 14.7%, while its labor participation rate, 60.2%, is 6.4 percentage points lower than Wisconsin’s.

Like thousands of other out-of-work Wisconsinites, Avila has spent days calling the DWD without ever speaking to an operator. By networking through Facebook groups like “Wisconsin Unemployment support group,” which was founded on May 1 and already has more than 1,400 members, she’s been able to call some DWD employees directly.