Competing with the couch, hopefully not much longer

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Sign at a Suburpia sub shop in Waukesha last week. Photo courtesy of Eric Brooks

Back on March 17, Gov. Evers’ WI Department of Workforce Development (DWD) announced the launching of a $300 weekly unemployment insurance supplement created as part of a round of federal COVID-19 relief.

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) is a $300 weekly supplement to unemployment insurance. Unemployment recipients were previously receiving a $300 weekly supplement to their unemployment under benefits approved in the second round of federal coronavirus relief last December. The current supplement that began in March continues the $300 payments through September 4, 2021, in Wisconsin.

The bonus money has caused employment chaos in Wisconsin.

State Senator Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) said in May one his local businessmen told him, “We’re no longer competing with other employers, we’re no longer competing with Illinois, we’re no longer competing with Iowa, we’re competing with the couch.”

Unidentified callers to Marklein’s office were described by the senator as “people that are getting up every day, going to work” who, while packing their lunch for work reported that “their next-door neighbor is packing the tackle box to go fishing all day.”

Will Flanders with the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty said their number crunching indicated  that more than 10% of workers in Wisconsin have been de-incentivized to work because of the extra unemployment.

“By far the largest group are those that work in the restaurant industry, representing nearly 200,000 workers in the state,” Flanders said. “Overall, about 11% of all workers in the state work in jobs where unemployment increases disincentivize may work. Removing the extra $300 would put the average unemployment benefits well below the mean wages for all of these occupations.”

According to the USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin:

Wisconsin has a non-farm labor force of about 2.8 million people, a number that has been slowly growing since the pandemic shut down many businesses in early 2020. But that’s still about 200,000 workers shy of the pre-pandemic peak of nearly 3 million. Meanwhile, about 120,000 people are currently unemployed, which puts the state’s unemployment rate at 3.9% as of June, nearly back at the pre-pandemic rate of 3.2% in March 2020, according to the Department of Workforce Development. Wisconsin currently has the 11th-lowest unemployment rate in the country, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Many business owners have responded by offering additional perks, whether that be higher wages, more flexible hours, sign-on and retention bonuses or improved working conditions. Some employers even began relaxing hiring qualifications because they are getting so desperate for workers, said Anthony Snyder, CEO of the Fox Valley Workforce Development Board

At an event Monday in Hales Corners Monday former WI Governor Scott Walker said, “We’ve still got a federal government, under Joe Biden and his left-wing allies, who are still paying people more not to work, more to be on government assistance than they were making on work. Anytime you go out for a fish fry, you go out around town or around the state, I can’t tell you how many business owners actually put up signs that say ‘Please forgive our slow service, forgive the time it’s taking, we just can’t find enough people to work.'”

Walker is right. Could there be anything even slightly humorous about this mess?

On Saturday on our way to La Crosse for our daughter’s dancing at their city’s annual Irish Fest Jennifer and I stopped for lunch at the River Walk Pub just two blocks from hustling and bustling downtown Wisconsin Dells.

Jennifer took a picture of our bartender/server.

My friends at Americans For Prosperity-Wisconsin are now posting these at participating businesses.

One thought on “Competing with the couch, hopefully not much longer

  1. Pingback: My Most Popular Blogs (08/23/21) | This Just In… From Franklin, WI

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