Madison, Wis. — Today, the Commerce Department announced that U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) faced its worst decline on record in the second quarter of 2020, plummeting by a staggering annualized rate of about 35 percent. In fact, experts say the only other comparable economic periods in American history are the Great Depression and the economic slump after World War II.
In Wisconsin, nearly 700,000 folks remain unemployed. What’s more, this week marks the nineteenth consecutive week that more than 1 million Americans — 1.43 million, to be precise — have filed for unemployment assistance.
“Today we saw tremendously disturbing GDP numbers, which only begin to represent the real fear and pain being felt by workers, small business owners, and middle class families across Wisconsin. So many across the state are continuing to cope with loss of work and income due to this administration’s bungled response to the COVID-19 crisis,” said Mark Westphal, President of the Fox Valley Area Labor Council and Opportunity Wisconsin Steering Committee Member. “The loss of $600 in enhanced unemployment benefits will only make the situation worse and negatively impact GDP for the rest of the year. It didn’t have to be this bad. If the Trump administration continues to prioritize the wealthy and Wall Street over the well-being of the rest of us, we are going to continue to see the real American economy here in our communities crumble.”
This Friday, the pandemic assistance that has kept millions of Americans and 700,000 Wisconsinites afloat will expire. That means this Friday, nearly 700,000 Wisconites will get a $2,400 pay cut per month during a pandemic. President Trump has prioritized legal immunity, tax cuts, and bailouts for corporations over direct aid to working- and middle-class families.
Wisconsin families facing bills without paychecks and struggling to make ends meet right now need extended direct aid. Check out Opportunity Wisconsin’s conversations from last week with newly unemployed folks from across the state who called on President Trump to help families stay afloat during this pandemic and recession.
Earlier this month, Opportunity Wisconsin released a countdown clock highlighting the impending pandemic pay cut that nearly 700,000 unemployed Wisconsin workers will face should President Trump fail to extend vital economic relief by the end of this week.