MADISON – Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) – the combined state chamber and manufacturers’ association – was joined by more than a dozen other business associations in urging Gov. Tony Evers to take immediate action on the state’s workforce shortage.
The business community asks that Gov. Evers end federal pandemic-related unemployment benefit programs that are contributing to Wisconsin’s workforce shortage. The request comes after WMC, 50 local chambers and some members of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation expressed concern that the extra $300 per week benefit was keeping people from returning to work.
Signatories of the letter represent thousands of businesses in manufacturing, construction, retail, hospitality and tourism, among others.
The growing urgency from every corner of the business community underscores the need for lawmakers to take action. On Monday, a variety of trade associations representing diverse industries sent a letter to Gov. Evers urging him to end the state’s participation in enhanced federal unemployment benefits.
In part, the letter reads:
“If you drive through any downtown or through just about any business park in our state, you will see ubiquitous ‘help wanted’ signs in storefronts. The inability of employers to find workers is at a crisis level in Wisconsin, threatening the viability of thousands of businesses and the income they provide for workers and their families. If immediate action is not taken, there is a great likelihood that long-term and irreversible damage will be done to Wisconsin’s economy, harming employers and families alike.
“To help our collective members, and give a shot in the arm to Wisconsin’s economy, the undersigned trade associations are calling on your administration to return unemployment benefits in Wisconsin to what they were pre-pandemic by ending the state’s participation in the enhanced federal unemployment benefits.”
Referencing the enhanced federal benefits, the different trade groups said that instead of “bouncing back” from the pandemic, the economy will be “held back” by an acute labor shortage made even worse by government interference in the marketplace.