MON AM News: Leisure, hospitality to lag economic recovery; Colorful Connections helps diversify employment – Wisbusiness.com


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From WisBusiness.com …

— A Department of Revenue economist expects a full economic recovery this quarter, but leisure and hospitality will lag.

In April 2020, about 20 years worth of job gains were wiped out in a single month, DOR’s John Koskinen reminded viewers at an economic update to St. Norbert College’s School of Business and Economics.

“We’re now starting to see all of that recovery, but there has been a fault line in the recovery, and that is between the goods side and the service side,” he explained. “People have actually returned to buying goods and investing. But the purchase of services that require direct interaction in particular, especially leisure and hospitality, have not returned to full activity yet.”

The largest job losses in Wisconsin were seen in leisure and hospitality, followed by local education, according to the DOR.

The good news, Koskinen said, is that it’s changing rapidly. The change started when all Wisconsin residents 16 and older became eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, he said.

“That has been the pivotal time that things changed for the rapid expansion,” he said. “The key to recovery is the progress we’ve made on COVID.”

According to data from the Department of Health Services, nearly 41 percent of Wisconsinites are fully vaccinated. Almost 47 percent have at least started their vaccination series. The seven-day average for daily confirmed cases has declined for 21 straight days and was at 324 yesterday. That’s a fraction of the 6,563 daily case average on Nov. 18.

“This improved situation, because of COVID, is bringing back those very industries that were set aside prior to April 5,” Koskinen said. “It’s a combination in foods, it’s arts and recreation, it’s pro sports, local education as more schools are coming back to full time.”

This is due to pandemic restrictions lifting, he noted. Milwaukee and Dane County are lifting capacity limits on June 1 and June 2, respectively.

“Wisconsin summer is going to look a whole lot better in 2021 than it did in 2020,” he said. “All those events that were canceled are actually back online.”

But it may take a few years for leisure and hospitality to fully rebound, Koskinen said. That’s because people will have to get used to returning to activities and there will be delays in business travel restart.

See more on the state of the tourism industry: https://www.wisbusiness.com/2021/jfc-continues-state-tourism-investment-ahead-of-expected-record-year/

— Save the date of June 15 for the second WisBusiness.com – Wisconsin Technology Council trade policy event.

The June 15 event will focus on trade implications of immigration reform. Full event details will be announced soon.

“Talking Trade” is back for a second season with a new episode featuring Joe Glauber, a former top USDA economist who now is a senior research fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute. Watch the episode: https://www.wisbusiness.com/2021/talking-trade-trends-in-u-s-china-agricultural-trade-affecting-the-midwest/

— WisBusiness.com has a new trade policy page to help you track events, news and developments that affect trade and the economy in Wisconsin and the Midwest.

See it here: https://www.wisbusiness.com/trade-policy/

— After a year of historic social and racial turmoil, many corporations have committed to creating an inclusive and diverse workplace.

But those pledges can fall short of accomplishing company goals due to a lack of diversity-focused hiring resources.

Morgan Phelps, founder and CEO of Colorful Connections, aims to overcome these challenges by creating a social enterprise and full-service diversity talent agency to represent skilled, diverse individuals.

Founded in 2019, Colorful Connections matched 10 clients to jobs and organized 11 workshops and training events in its first year.

Read more here: https://www.wisbusiness.com/2021/colorful-connections-seeks-to-help-companies-meet-diversity-goals/

— U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, joined three Dems and four Republicans in urging leaders to move forward with enforcement measures negotiated in the USMCA to support U.S. dairy farmers.

In a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Ag Secretary Thomas Vilsack, the bipartisan coalition says it’s crucial the Biden administration hold neighboring trade partners accountable to their trade commitments. The group says Canada has not taken actions to alter its dairy tariff-rate quotas to bring them to compliance with USMCA, undermining the ability of dairy farmers and producers to sell products to Canadian consumers.

Kind, who serves on the Ways and Means Committee, and his colleagues are asking for immediate use of USMCA’s enforcement measures.

“I’ve long said trade agreements are only as strong as their enforcement and we need to make sure our trading partners live up to their end of the deal,” Kind said. “It’s critical that the Administration advances enforcement action to fulfill the promises made to our dairy farmers and send a clear message that the agreements our nation signs into law will be fully implemented.”

Read the letter: https://kind.house.gov/sites/kind.house.gov/files/052121%20Kind%20Letter.pdf

— U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore has introduced legislation to increase Work Opportunity Tax Credit reimbursement for businesses.

The Hiring Incentive to Return Employment act would increase the credit to 50 percent for the first $10,000 in wages for two years for all eligible hires. The legislation has support from at least three other House Dems.

The WOTC program is designed to help unemployed people who face significant long term barriers to employment, according to the IRS. Veterans, formerly incarcerated people and those on food assistance programs and others qualify to be hired under WOTC.

Moore, D-Milwaukee, said those people were hurting before the pandemic and could get locked out of the job market even longer without help.

“These are people who too often face multiple barriers to employment, including stigma,” she said.

International Franchise Association executive Matt Haller added the legislation could help with labor shortages, something Wisconsin is experiencing right now.

“Not only will the bill help get more Americans back to work, it will go a long way to alleviating the labor demand issue facing employers as businesses grow and customers return,” Haller said.

See the release: https://www.wispolitics.com/2021/u-s-rep-moore-introduces-legislation-to-help-disadvantaged-populations-get-back-to-work/

— The Department of Workforce Development is reminding employers it has resources to help train and recruit staff.

Wisconsin has experienced historically low unemployment in recent years, creating a more competitive labor market. Employers who want to find talented new job candidates or train and upskill their existing workforce can take advantage of DWD’s resources.

“DWD and our local workforce partners are eager to help Wisconsin employers thrive, especially as our state’s economy looks to bounce back better than ever after the pandemic,” DWD Secretary Amy Pechacek said. “We want employers to understand all of the resources that are available to help them attract and develop a hardworking, talented workforce.”

See the resources page: https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/press/210521-employer-resources.htm


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