MADISON — The latest figures from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis show the Badger State’s gross domestic product dropped 32.6 percent on an annualized basis, the highest recorded decline since 2005 — when the agency began tallying state quarterly data.
Wisconsin posted just over $314 million in total economic output in the second quarter — between April and June. That’s down from $348.47 million in the same quarter last year.
Nationwide, GDP dropped by 31.4 percent in the second quarter.
No doubt the pandemic hit the economy hard. But sweeping lockdown orders and the shutdown of “nonessential” businesses driven by Evers and other liberal governors exacerbated the damage.
“The decline in second quarter GDP reflected the response to COVID-19, as ‘stay-at-home’ orders issued in March and April were partially lifted in some areas of the country in May and June, and government pandemic assistance payments were distributed to households and businesses,” the bureau’s report notes. “This led to rapid shifts in activity, as businesses and schools continued remote work and consumers and businesses canceled, restricted, or redirected their spending.”
The Evers administration’s extended lockdown orders were not lifted until mid May, when the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down the edicts. Local health officers in liberal-run cities across the state picked up where Evers left off, on the advice of Democrat Attorney General Josh Kaul. Cities like Madison, Milwaukee and Racine put strict limits on patrons of retailers, restaurants and bars, among the hardest hit of the stay-at-home orders.
While the steep economic decline in the spring plateaued with the reopening of much of Wisconsin’s economy this past summer, economic activity sharply declined last month, according to the Center for Research on the Wisconsin Economy (CROWE).
“Although there are signs that activity has rebounded slightly over the past week, activity remains below the previous few months, reverting to levels last seen in June,” CROWE’s latest report found. “Over the last three weeks, overall foot traffic from SafeGraph data has fallen by 8 percentage points, with a decline of 11 points in the hardest-hit accommodations and food sector.”
While concern over an increase in COVID-19 numbers has businesses and consumers spooked, the restrictive, conflicting and punitive policies of liberal governors like Evers are making a tough economic situation worse.