Wisconsin’s unemployment-benefits fund’s surplus rose to $1.65 billion in May, nearly reversing the $1.68 billion trip into the red the fund took during the Great Recession.
The fund’s large surplus means employers will most likely continuing paying unemployment taxes at the lowered rates that they’ve enjoyed in recent years. Those tax rates rise and fall according to how much money is in the state’s employment fund, going up when cash is running short in order to replenish what has been lost.
With the return of the fund’s surplus in the years following the latest recession, those tax rates have fallen three times since 2016. State officials estimate those reductions have save employers $165 million in total.
Officials noted in a press release Wednesday that the state’s unemployment rate is at a historic low of 2.8 percent and unemployment claims are as infrequent as they’ve been in more than 30 years. Those factors also help employers save money, because companies that have layoffs are often moved into higher tax brackets.
The reduction in claims has saved employers $534 million since 2013, according to state officials.