Empower Wisconsin | July 3, 2020
By M.D. Kittle
MADISON — The U.S. economy saw vast improvement in June, with record job gains smashing hiring expectations for COVID-19-battered businesses.
But a rise in coronavirus cases in recent weeks and iron-fisted governors and bureaucrats getting itchy to shut down business and reissue broad restrictions on movement could bring the recovery to a screeching halt.
The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 11.1 percent last month, down from 13.3 percent in May. It’s down from a peak of 14.7 percent in April, a jobless rate not seen since the Great Depression. The economy added — or bought back — some 4.8 million jobs as pandemic restrictions continued to lift, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.
BLS data show 356,000 manufacturing jobs returned and the economy added 158,000 construction positions. The 4.8 million jobs gain is a record.
Unemployment for blacks in particular dropped sharply, from 16.8 percent to 15.4 percent.
“Today’s announcement proves that our economy is roaring back,” President Donald Trump said Thursday following the Labor Department’s release.
But don’t worry, folks. Gov. Tony Evers and left-leaning health bureaucrats won’t allow this kind of dangerous economic growth in Wisconsin.
Just as the Badger State opened back up (thanks to the state Supreme Court ruling in May), local governments are ratcheting up controls and shutting down businesses.
This week, Madison and Dane County’s joint health department ordered all bars in the county to shut down indoor service amid rising COVID-19 cases in the county. Health officials say half of the 13,000 infections statewide over the past month have hit people ages 18-29.
“This message is especially important for younger people to hear,” Lockdown Tony said in a press release urging Wisconsinites to practice social-distancing and mask-wearing this Fourth of July Weekend. “We know this is a time people like to celebrate with friends, but COVID-19 is still spreading in our state, and we need everyone to take the necessary precautions.”
Or, the state and local jurisdictions will take them for you. That’s the growing refrain from government officials.
At a hearing on the pandemic this week, U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Madison) called for federalizing COVID-19 safety rules for workers.
As COVID-19 cases rise, states are re-closing swaths of their economies. Economists warn the robust jobs numbers we saw in June could retreat in July.
Jobless claims remained high last week, with some 1.427 million Americans filing, according to the Labor Department. Continuing claims soared by 59,000 on Thursday alone, to 19.3 million.
Wisconsin posted 25,440 new unemployment claims for the week ending June 27, according to federal data. Total claims topped 223,000, even as tens of thousands of claims have yet to be filled.
“This slowdown is going to have an impact, absolutely. How big is hard to say,” Steve Blitz, chief U.S. economist at TS Lombard told CNBC.