Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development

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Two well-known Northwoods residents who are officials at the Department of Workforce Development say tougher enforcement has cut the amount of unemployment fraud.

Assistant Deputy Secretary David Anderson says the emphasis has shifted unemployment payments from a benefits program to a short term assistance program. Administrator of the Unemployment Insurance Division, Joe Handrick, says they wanted to have a greater accuracy in what was being paid out...

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While parts of Wisconsin are seeing very low unemployment numbers, 5 of the 15 highest numbers of unemployment come from Northwoods.

Preliminary December 2015 rates decreased or remained the same in 68 of Wisconsin's 72 counties compared to rates in December 2014. The latest rates ranged from 2.9 percent in Dane to 8.7 percent in Iron. lsewhere in the Northwoods, Vilas had the state's fifth highest rate at 7.8 percent, Forest at 7.2, Oneida 6.2, Langlade 5.9, Lincoln 4.9 and Price at 4.7 percent.

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A collaborative agreement between Oneida County Economic Development, Three Lakes High School and Nicolet College brings a large grant to support the development of a "Fab Lab", and related curriculum.

Department of Workforce Development Deputy Secretary Jonathan Barry and David Anderson formally presented $132,000 for the "Certifiable Employability Project" for Three Lakes at the Grow North meeting in Minocqua.

Barry says the program allows high school students to get  one-of-a-kind state-of-the art training towards getting hired right out of school..

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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.

 

en.wikipedia.org Ian McKenzie

A state economist says Vilas county reflects changing demographics in the north. Those demographic changes could reflect a big change in the workforce.

Scott Hodek says if you look at Vilas county's demographics, in 2010, about 25 percent of the workforce was over 65 years old and likely retired....

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Northwoods unemployment remains well above the state average, but a state official says with one exception the rates are below one year ago.

The Department of Workforce Development reports Iron county has the state's highest rate at 13.3 percent. Vilas has the third-highest, at 10.7 percent, Forest county is eighth at 9.2 percent, Oneida county ninth at 8.6 percent. Lincoln and Langlade counties are at 7.6 percent. Price county is at 5.7 percent.

State economist Tom Walsh in Wausau says though high, the rate is lower than a year ago for all but Iron county....

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Even though unemployment in the Northwoods remains stubborly high compared to other parts of the state, an economist says leading indicators are pointing up.

Scott Hodek is based in Eau Claire for the Department of Workforce Development.

Hodek says they look at the numbers like the manufacturing work week and inventories...