Selected News Features|
WUWM Milwaukee Public Radio interview with Lois Quinn on
rising unemployment insurance rolls and
new economic data on Milwaukee.
The numbers of workers receiving weekly unemployment insurance payments instead of a paycheck has tripled since 2008.
In addition to job losses in goods-producing industries, the Milwaukee metro area is now seeing employment declines in service industries. In 2008 the service sector still held fairly strong, but in 2009 (particularly near the end of the year) companies reported continuing drops in employment. One of the key sectors showing job growth is education, as unemployed workers seek out additional training and education. Community colleges throughout the state report high enrollments.
John Pawasarat's OpEd in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on
"The brutal facts: Too few jobs for too many."
Milwaukee County has more unemployed workers now than at the height of the Great Depression (when 36,400 workers were unemployed and not working on federal relief projects). Pawasarat offers recommendations for job creation and addressing barriers to employment.
Greater Milwaukee Foundation
Vital Signs: Measuring Metropolitan Milwaukee's Economic Health
Unemployment rates in the Milwaukee area are climbing up to levels seen last summer as modest job gains are outstripped by increases in unemployed workers looking for jobs. Safety nets continue to provide critical assistance, with over 75,000 workers in the metro area receiving weekly unemployment insurance payments and over 200,000 residents enrolled in the FoodShare and BadgerCare Plus programs.
WUWM examines the
recession's impact, a monthly review of economic indicators prepared by the Employment and Training Institute for the Greater Milwaukee Foundation.
The metro area continues to show a jobless recovery. In addition to intense need in Milwaukee's inner city, there is a new largely invisible suburban poverty where unemployed workers and families who got into subprime loans they can no longer afford face foreclosures. Government programs have reached out to thousands of area families hit by the recession. One in 5 residents of the metro area now uses FoodShare to help pay their grocery bills and BadgerCare Plus for medical coverage. The biggest problem remains the job shortage. In the metro area there are 13 job seekers for every 1 available full-time job. In the inner city the job gap is 25 to 1.
Lake Effect program talks with workers in Oak Creek, West Bend, Waukesha and other communities hard-hit by job losses.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial board meeting and Pawasarat OpEd on
"Driver's license is a vital link to employment"
For almost 20 years the City of Milwaukee municipal court has systematically suspended driver's licenses of tens of thousands of mostly African American city residents as punishment for not paying non-driving related fines. In 2003 alone, the Milwaukee municipal court issued 68,191 license suspensions to city residents for not paying civil forfeitures; 81% of these suspensions were issued to African Americans, 9% to Latinos and 9% to whites. As a result, only 1/3 of young men in poorer neighborhoods have a valid driver's license.
WUWM interview on
What Stimulus Could Mean for Fragile Workforce
Quinn warns that stimulus work funneled into road repair and construction jobs will not reach African American workers without special intervention as African Americans still comprise less than 10% of the construction workforce. She recommends breaking down contracts and making sure that a number of the contracts get to minority-owned businesses that have better track records of hiring African Americans and Latinos.
WUWM interview on
Inclusion of African Americans in Federal Stimulus Work Programs
In the 1930s Milwaukee County not only embraced WPA, PWA and RA construction work (building roads, dams, parks, community facilities and even a town -- Greendale) but also created meaningful public employment jobs for thousands of women making products for use by children in schools, nurseries, hospitals and orphanages. Many issues faced in the 1930s, including need for public employment by minorities and women, are still relevant today.
UWM homepage feature on
Numbers Driving Change in Milwaukee's Poorest Neighborhood
For over 15 years the Employment and Training Institute has used governmental institutional data bases to track neighborhood changes in ZIP code 53206, one of Milwaukee's poorest neighborhoods. On the positive side, strong families hold the neighborhood together. When AFDC was eliminated there was not a surge of homelessness; instead, families took in family members. Small businesses, including day care centers, are budding and a solid housing stock remains heavily owner-occupied. The prison situation, however, is "beyond alarming," with over 60% of men of prime working age in or formerly in state prison. The neighborhood was also heavily targeted by subprime lenders (more than 60 companies, most from out-of-state), and abandoned housing is now striking at the heart of the community.