Jeff Fuentes Gleghorn
The Wisconsin economy is quickly recovering from the COVID19 pandemic, and is doing better than before on key measures like poverty. Wisconsin’s economy has recovered 84 percent of the jobs lost during the pandemic, bringing the unemployment rate down a record low of 2.8 percent in April. When Biden took office in January 2021, Wisconsin’s unemployment rate was 4.5 percent. Waukesha County is doing even better, with an unemployment rate of 2.4 percent in April, compared to 3.8 percent when Biden took office in January 2021. Milwaukee County still lags behind the state average, with its unemployment rate at 4.3 percent in April, still significantly lower than the 6.1 percent from January 2021.
Poverty in Wisconsin was projected to be lower than it was pre-pandemic. The Supplemental Poverty Measure in the state was projected to be 5.4 percent in 2021, lower than the 9.3 percent reported in a similar measure for 2018. It was estimated that only 3.4 percent of children under 18 in Michigan live in poverty, less than half of the 7.2 percent rate from 2018. The report from the Urban Institute points to Biden’s American Rescue Plan (ARP) as a critical piece of legislation in keeping poverty down. They estimate the ARP reduced national poverty rates by as much as 6 percent during 2021, and that over 1 million children were kept out of poverty by the Child Tax Credit.