The state released jobless numbers last week. Iron county continues to have the state's second highest rate at 10.1 percent, Forest county is third highest at 8 percent, Langlade is fifth highest at 7.7 percent, Lincoln is ninth at 7.4 percent. Both Vilas and Oneida counties are near 6.5 percent, and Price county is at 5.3 percent. While Iron county's rate remains in double-digits, all listed counties have jobless rates at least one percentage point lower than one year ago, and some rates are approaching pre-recession levels.
State economist Scott Hodek says the numbers reflect increased hiring in construction, tourism and other industries. But he says more people looking for work are finding a job...
".....throughout the year I think you've heard me talking about how the labor forces are down. This month throughout the listening area, again Vilas was the only one where it was up, they weren't down very much, they were almost similiar to last year. And that may not sound like a good sign but compared to where it's been, that tells me that the labor force is growing some compared to last year again..."
Hodek says this reflects optimism about the national economy growing a bit during the second half of the year. He says the workforce numbers have been affected by a large number of Baby Boomers who are leaving the workforce.