There was an uptick in jobless claims in February for both Wisconsin and the Northwoods, but a state economist says changes in the workforce plays a part.
Scott Hodek from the Department of Workforce Development says the labor force is in a state of flux...
"....I think what we are seeing is retirements that have been put off. They were put off for the recession and now that the 401-K's are back people are probably(retiring) and I think there's a certain amount of the long term unemployed that may be, to an extent, dropping out of the labor force..."
Hodek says the rates for the Northwoods counties are lower this year than last year.
He says the extreme cold also didn't help the economy...
"....I think we see...as cold as it was...sometimes when there is more snow you get that bump from snowmobiling, but I think that a cold winter definitely tend to make the rates go higher..."
Hodek thinks higher heating costs motivated people to spend less on other things.
Iron county has the state's second-highest rate at 12.6 percent, Vilas is fifth at 11.9 percent, Forest county is eighth at 10.8 percent, Oneida was tenth at 10.2 percent, Lincoln was 13th at 9.9 percent and Langlade county followed next at 9.6 percent. All of the Northwood counties had rates 1 to 2 percent lower than one year ago.