"Wisconsin leads nation in new jobless claims"
With tens of thousands of Wisconsinites facing the possibility of losing federal unemployment benefits due to obstruction by House Republicans, a new U.S. Department of Labor report shows that Wisconsin leads the nation in new jobless claims.
That's according to The Capital Times, which is reporting that "4,420 people in Wisconsin filed initial unemployment claims during the last week of November. That is more claims than the next two highest states combined: Ohio with 2,597 and Kentucky with 1,538."
"Scott Walker is kicking tens of thousands of Wisconsinites off their healthcare, wreaking havoc on Wisconsin workers with his failed economic policies, and asking folks to skip Christmas presents for the kids and instead send the money to his campaign," Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said Friday. "He really is the Governor Grinch who stole Christmas."
The U.S. Department of Labor reported Thursday that 4,420 people in Wisconsin filed initial unemployment claims during the last week of November. That is more claims than the next two highest states combined: Ohio with 2,597 and Kentucky with 1,538.
Several other states reported large decreases in unemployment claims for the week including California: down 19,920; Texas: down 7,284 and Florida: down 5,400. Michigan also reported a dip of 2,567 claims.
Officials with the state Department of Workforce Development explain that Wisconsin historically sees a seasonal increase in unemployment claims around Thanksgiving -- in part because of deer hunting -- but note the number of claims for 2013 is actually down from 2012 by 17.4 percent and the lowest since at least 2009.
Still, the new figures come as Gov. Scott Walker in his weekly radio address is touting the October figures showing the Wisconsin unemployment rate falling to 6.5 percent, a five-year low.
The national rate for November was 7 percent but state by state figures for November won’t be released until next Friday.
Unemployment has become a hot issue of late since the Congressional budget deal announced this week did not extend federal unemployment benefits beyond Dec. 28.
That program gives jobless individuals emergency compensation after they have exhausted their state benefits, which typically last for 26 weeks. The federal program was beefed up in the 2009 economic stimulus bill, extending benefits for up to 73 weeks.
As it stands, an estimated 1.3 million Americans will lose their benefits if nothing changes before the end of December, including about 24,000 people in Wisconsin.
Members of the Wisconsin Assembly and Senate earlier this week sent a letter to the state’s congressional delegation urging action to extend the benefits. The federal budget compromise was led by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis).