The unemployment rate for most Northwoods counties has slipped below double-digits.
The Department of Workforce Development monthly unemployment numbers for May show the lowest rate in the region in Price county at 6.8 percent, Oneida at 8.3, Langlade 8.6, Lincoln 8.8, Forest 9.1, Vilas 9.3 and Iron county the second-highest in the state at 11.5.
State economist Tom Walsh in Wausau says the most recent number reflects numbers close to the same month in 2012. He says the initial claims for unemployment insurance are down in all the northern counties. He says initial claims numbers show employers are laying off fewer workers. Over the year the region has added 580 jobs.
Walsh says some Northwoods industries are showing growth...
"...there was some pretty strong growth in metal fabrication....which was interesting to see given the anecdotes about the need for welders and machinists and hearing that people coming out of our welding and machinist programs in our tech schools are getting hired up. We actually did see that in the numbers..."
St. Croix county had the state's lowest rate at 4.4 percent.