The state’s unemployment insurance trust fund is expected to suffer losses as many Wisconsinites are laid off due to coronavirus impacts.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt that the unemployment insurance fund is going to take a hit,” said John Mielke, president of Associated Builders and Contractors and a member of the state’s unemployment insurance advisory council.

During the council’s webinar meeting Thursday, Unemployment Insurance Program Administrator Mark Reihl said the number of claims has increased significantly this week after Gov. Tony Evers declared a public health emergency.

Between Sunday and Wednesday of this past week, about 29,000 unemployment insurance claims were filed in the state, according to preliminary federal figures. That’s compared to just under 3,700 for the same period of 2019.

“It’s pretty clear we’ll be seeing sharp increases in unemployment insurance claim filings,” said Scott Manley, another council member and senior vice president of government relations for Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce. “The question that remains is how long will that last, and what will be the impact on the trust fund?”

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