The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) recently released the 2017 Unemployment Insurance (U) Financial Outlook Report, which projects continued growth for the Wisconsin UI Trust Fund throughout the projection period. In addition to continued growth, the UI Trust Fund is predicted to have a balance of $1.2 billion or greater on June 30th, which would result in the third straight year that Wisconsin employers who participate in the UI program would experience a tax reduction. Due to the vastly improved Wisconsin economy and common-sense reforms made to the UI program, when combined with the reductions for the 2016 and 2017 tax years, tax schedule changes are estimated to reduce total UI taxes by over $150 million.
“Wisconsin’s UI Trust Fund has come a long way over the past six years, from a deficit of over $1 billion which brought over $360 million in additional costs to employers due to borrowing money from the federal government to a healthy UI Trust Fund balance of over $1 billion,” DWD Secretary Ray Allen said. “Wisconsin’s Trust Fund is continuing to grow, but we must ensure that we avoid the additional burden that borrowing money to pay benefits puts on the employers who fund UI benefit payments.”
The projections are included in the state’s 2017 UI Financial Outlook report, which DWD submitted on April 14 to the Governor and legislative leadership as required by statute.
Highlights of the report include:
- Wisconsin’s UI Trust Fund ended 2016 with a positive balance of roughly $1.2 billion
- UI benefits are expected to stay at historically low levels throughout the projection period, and the UI Trust Fund is expected to grow to over $1.5 billion by the end of 2019
- Wisconsin’s UI Trust Fund balance is projected to be greater than $1.2 billion on June 30, which will move UI taxes to the lowest tax schedule, schedule D. This would result in a tax reduction for the third straight tax year for most Wisconsin employers covered under the UI program.
Other indicators of the health of Wisconsin’s UI program and overall economy include:
- Initial UI claims ended 2016 at their lowest level since 1988. Year 2017 initial UI claims are running at their lowest levels in at least 30 years
- Continuing UI claims ended 2016 at their lowest levels since 1973. Year 2017 Continuing UI claims in Wisconsin are running at their lowest level in at least 30 years.