Between September 2019 and September 2020, Wisconsin lost more than 150,000 jobs. Businesses that depended on face-to-face interaction with customers, such as in hospitality and tourism, were especially hard-hit.

But the sizable blow to employment in Wisconsin was less severe than its four bordering states and the nation as a whole. Wisconsin’s 5.2 percent loss in jobs was lower than Iowa’s (5.3), Minnesota’s (7.4), Illinois’ (7.8) and Michigan’s (7.9). Only Iowa joined Wisconsin under the national average job loss of 6.8 percent.

Policy Forum researcher Mark Sommerhauser explained that more research needs to be done to pinpoint why Wisconsin fared better than many other states in minimizing job losses during that time.

Last month, Department of Workforce Development economist Dennis Winters attributed Wisconsin’s better-than-average unemployment rates to the state’s industry mix — growth in some sectors, such as manufacturing, balanced loss in others, such as hospitality.

Wisconsin’s loss percentage was lower than its neighbors in nearly all industries, including hospitality, manufacturing, health, construction and transportation, among others.

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