Northwoods Unemployment Rate Stabilizes

Aug 22, 2013


Unemployment trends for the Northwoods have settled into traditional patterns with the rates coming down in most counties.

The state released local numbers this week. Iron county continues to have the second-highest rate at 11.2 percent. Forest county is at 9.1 percent, Lincoln and Langlade counties are at 8.7 percent. Oneida county's rate has fallen to 7.1 percent, and Price county has the lowest rate in the region at 6.2 percent.

State economist Tom Walsh in Wausau says the numbers show a traditional year-to-year pattern. He says the rates fell from June, when more people are looking for work.

"....when June hits, the schools are letting out and people are looking for work, or there are layoffs tied to the school year. When you get into July, that's when all the seasonal hiring kicks in. In the Northwoods, the seasonal hiring is probably bigger than anywhere else in the state..."

Walsh says part of the lower unemployment rates are due to fewer people looking for work. He says that is partly related to more older workers are retiring. But he sees another trend...

"...initial claims for unemployment insurance continue to decline compared to 2012, which is a proxy for layoffs. The decline shows fewer people are being laid off...."

St. Croix and Pierce counties in western Wisconsin...abutting the Minneapolis-St. Paul market...have the states lowest jobless rate at 4.3 and 4.4 percent. Dane county is next at 4.8 percent.