The economy in North Central Wisconsin is slowly recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.
After unemployment peaked in April at 13.5 percent it finished the year at about 5.5 percent.
Mitchell Ropp is a regional economist for the Department of Workforce Development.
He says nothing has impacted the economy like the pandemic has.
“The impact was felt very quickly from this, but we also have recovered a good portion of what was hit relatively quickly overall. It’s definitely different in its nature,” said Ropp.
Ropp says some jobs will never return. Industries that had already been heading toward automation increased those efforts during the pandemic to reduce costs.
As the economy continues to recover, Ropp says we’ll still be faced with the same problems from before the pandemic.
“When the pandemic has subsided will still face the workforce conditions caused by the retiring of aging baby boomers. The primary long term challenges facing Wisconsin’s economic future remains workforce quantity,” said Ropp.
The leisure and hospitality industry has been one of the hardest hit during the pandemic.
WXPR is talking with local business owners in that industry about what this last has been like.
Hear from them Wednesday during WXPR’s special report ‘Here for a Year: The Impact of COVID-19 on Our Lives.’
It airs at 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. on-air and online.