(MADISON, WI) — President Trump likes to bluster about the economy, but Wisconsin businesses are struggling under this administration. In 2019 the state faced the greatest number of mass layoffs (25+) since 2015. In addition, Trump’s trade war has led to the closure of hundreds of family farms and thousands of factory workers losing their jobs.

“Donald Trump broke his promise to fight for hard working Wisconsinites, and instead is pushing economic policies that have cost our state jobs and only reward the ultra wealthy,” Democratic Party of Wisconsin spokesperson Philip Shulman said. “Farmers, manufacturers, and small businesses are also being crushed because of Trump’s erratic trade war with China. It’s clear we can’t afford four more years of this president.”

Read excerpts of the story below.

Mass layoffs up in Wisconsin last year, most since 2015
Milwaukee Business News, Arthur Thomas

The number of workers affected by mass layoffs that require a notice to the state Department of Workforce Development increased in 2019, but the total did not reach the most recent peak of 9,630 set in 2015.

A total of 8,590 workers were included in Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification or WARN notices last year, a 1.9% increase from 2018, according to data from the department.


WARN notices are required when a company plans to close an employment site with more than 25 employees or make layoffs totaling at least 25% of the workforce or 25 employees, whichever is greater, or at least 500 employees total.


More than half of the affected jobs in 2019 were included in WARN notices filed in the first three months of the year and more than 72% were filed by the end of June.

The biggest layoffs during the year came from ShopKo, which filed for bankruptcy in January 2019. The company announced plans to lay off 578 workers in February and another 1,715 in March.

In 2018, the total number of workers laid off in Wisconsin included 2,255 jobs lost at Bon-Ton, the parent company of Boston Store, which filed for bankruptcy that year and liquidated its assets.


Last year’s WARN notice total is the highest since 2015, when the total reached 9,630.

That year included Wells Fargo closing its Milwaukee service office, eliminating 839 jobs, Assurant leaving the health insurance market, eliminating 1,200 jobs and the closure of the Oscar Meyer plant in Madison, adding another 1,000 jobs. There were also high-profile layoffs GE Waukesha Engine and Joy Global’s facilities.



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