MADISON – Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) – the combined state chamber and manufacturers’ association – sent a letter to Gov. Tony Evers on Tuesday urging him to end federal pandemic-related unemployment benefit programs that are contributing to the state’s dire workforce shortage.
WMC explains in the letter that the inability to find workers has reached a crisis level in Wisconsin, and that if nothing is done, irreversible damage will be done to the state’s economy.
In part, the letter reads:
“Small, medium and large businesses from every corner of the state are desperate to find workers. Manufacturers, construction firms, the hospitality sector and businesses from countless other industries are not only facing competition from other employers, now they must compete with state and federal unemployment benefits. Stimulus checks and other government aid are only exacerbating the workforce shortage.
“Through September, an individual can receive $670 per week on unemployment thanks to a $300 federal enhancement. That is the equivalent of $16.75 per hour. Business leaders tell us every single day that this expanded unemployment benefit is creating a strong disincentive to work and making it harder for them to hire.
“We cannot afford to allow able-bodied workers to remain on the sidelines while thousands of jobs are available today.”
The letter was also sent to members of the Wisconsin State Legislature and the Wisconsin Congressional Delegation in hopes that policymakers would take steps to get workers back on the job.
In addition to calling for Wisconsin to end federal pandemic-related unemployment benefit programs, WMC encouraged Gov. Evers to follow the lead of other states that are using American Rescue Plan funds to incentivize people to return to work through sign-on bonuses.