DWD: February Unemployment Rates Announced

For Immediate Release:

Rose Lynch (608) 266-6753
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Madison – Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Roberta Gassman today announced that Wisconsin had an estimated 5.2 percent seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for February, compared to 5.0 percent for January. The national seasonally adjusted rate for February was 5.6 percent, which was unchanged from the January figure.

“While Wisconsin added more jobs than typical in February, including approximately 1,600 in manufacturing, the sluggishness in the job market continues to be evident and remains a concern,” Secretary Gassman said. “We are encouraged to see a larger than average gain in jobs in the January-February timeframe.”

Wisconsin’s unadjusted February unemployment rate was 6.4 percent compared to 6.0 percent for January. The national unadjusted rate was 6.0 percent in February and 6.3 percent in January. Although Wisconsin normally has a lower seasonally adjusted unemployment rate than the nation in January, February and March, it is not uncommon to see Wisconsin’s unadjusted unemployment rate exceed the national rate. This has been quite common over the past four years, as Wisconsin and other manufacturing states have been more adversely affected by the national economic downturn than have most non-manufacturing states.

The jobs in Wisconsin’s nonfarm wage and salary economy were estimated at 2,750,000 for February, compared to 2,734,100 in January. That gain of 15,900 is above the average 8,100 January to February increase in the past decade.

Manufacturing gained 1,600 jobs between January and February in Wisconsin, which was the first monthly gain recorded since August of 2003. Over the past decade the average change between January and February in manufacturing was a decrease of 1,400 jobs. Financial activities gained 1,700 jobs, private education and health services gained 3,900 jobs. The government sector gained 19,600 jobs between January and February as colleges, universities and local school districts returned to their normal employment levels after holiday breaks. Retail trade, construction, leisure and hospitality, transportation, and management of companies lost jobs between January and February. That is normal for all of those industries except the transportation industry, which normally sees a slight gain between January and February.

February employment and unemployment figures for individual counties will be available March 31. This release also is available at www.dwd.state.wi.us/lmi.