While the jobless numbers are trending down across the U.S., those numbers remain above the national average in most of the Northwoods.
Last week the state released unemployment numbers for local communities. Iron county has the state's second highest rate, trailing only Menominee county, at 13.3 percent. Vilas county is third highest at 11.3. Forest county is 7th highest at 9.3 percent, followed by Oneida county's 8.9 percent. Langlade county has fallen to 8.1 percent and Lincoln county is at 7.7 percent.
Economist Scott Hodek says traditionally the jobless rate spikes in February then goes down until June when more students join the workforce. He says one bright spot is each county has lower unemployment than a year ago...
".....for the most part in your area and the state as well, the labor force has dropped some. It wasn't a ton in(the Northwoods), but usually we expect to see rising(numbers) at this point..."
Hodek thinks there are a couple of reasons for the dropoff....
"....the unemployment rate has dropped quite a bit, but I think a lot of that has to do with retirees leaving the labor force and I think we may also have some long-term unemployed that may be dropping out(of the workforce) to an extent...."
Price county has the area's lowest rate at 6.1 percent, about the national average.