DWD: May Local Unemployment Rates Announced

Rose Lynch (608) 266-6753

Madison – Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Roberta Gassman today announced 63 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties had lower unemployment rates in May of 2004 than May of 2003, while 9 had higher unemployment rates this year than last year.

“For the third consecutive month, a majority of Wisconsin counties reported improved unemployment rates in May, and for the fifth consecutive month most counties reported lower rates than one year ago,” Secretary Gassman said. “These are important developments for the state’s economy in the recovery process. We continue to watch these changes with a watchful eye on the those counties that continue to struggle with unemployment in some pockets of the state.”

The county with the greatest improvement from the prior year was Door County, which had an 8.5 percent unemployment rate last May, but a 5.7 percent rate this May. Sixty-six counties had a lower rate in May than they had experienced in April, while three counties had higher rates in May than they had in April, and three counties were unchanged. As usually occurs this time of the year in Wisconsin, the greatest month-to-month improvement was experienced in the northern tier of the state. Iron County’s unemployment rate was 12.7 percent in April and 7.7 percent in May. Vilas County went from 9.0 percent in April to 5.2 percent in May. Bayfield County went from 8.9 percent in April to 5.6 percent in May.

The lowest unemployment rate in the state was reported in Dane County at 2.5 percent. Ozaukee County with a 3.1 percent unemployment rate and La Crosse County with a 3.3 percent rate were not far behind. Thirteen counties in Wisconsin had unemployment rates lower that 4.0 percent. The highest unemployment rate in Wisconsin was reported for Menominee County at 10.9 percent. Oconto was next with an 8.3 percent rate, while Langlade County had a 7.9 percent rate.