State economic forecast portends a slow recovery after pandemic crash

By: - June 2, 2020 9:20 pm
Business chart image with human figures falling off the end of the declining graph line

Business chart (Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal)

Wisconsin’s economy and the nation’s are headed for a slow recovery that will take more than three years to approach pre-COVID-19 pandemic conditions, the state Department of Revenue projects in a new forecast.

Personal income growth in the state will skid to just 0.2% in 2020, rebounding weakly to 1.6% in 2021, says the DOR report released Tuesday.

The forecast expects Wisconsin to track the U.S. on most economic measures. Unemployment in Wisconsin exceeded 14% in April, with 440,000 state residents losing jobs that month — two-and-a-half times the 170,000 jobs lost over the two years of the Great Recession that began in 2008, the DOR states.

The report is more optimistic in its wage-growth forecasts. After falling 9% in Wisconsin and nationally by the end of the third quarter of 2020, the DOR expects wage and salary income to rebound at a 7% rate in 2021 in the state, 7.7% nationally.

The federal  Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act will “significantly offset” wage and income declines, however, according to the report.


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Erik Gunn
Erik Gunn

Deputy Editor Erik Gunn reports and writes on work and the economy, health policy and related subjects, for the Wisconsin Examiner. He spent 24 years as a freelance writer for Milwaukee Magazine, Isthmus, The Progressive, BNA Inc., and other publications, winning awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, beat coverage, business writing, and commentary.