DWD: October Local Unemployment Rates Announced

Rose Lynch, (608) 266-6753


Madison – Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Roberta Gassman today announced that Wisconsin had 34 counties with unemployment rates below 4.0 percent in October, and five of those had unemployment rates under 3.0 percent. Dane County had the lowest unemployment rate at 2.2 percent, but was followed closely by Ozaukee County at 2.5 percent and Dunn and Iowa counties at 2.6 percent. Seven counties had unemployment rates of 6.0 percent or higher, with Menominee County at 8.9 percent, Oconto County at 7.5 percent, and Juneau County at 6.8 percent at the highest rates in the state.

“Wisconsin’s economy as a whole is improving, but clearly there are still pockets of the state that are not doing as well,” Secretary Gassman said. “That’s why Governor Doyle is committed to continuing his ‘Grow Wisconsin’ agenda so we can provide good-paying, family-supporting jobs for all citizens of Wisconsin.”

Normal seasonal factors, such as less tourism and fewer outdoor activities, caused unemployment rates to increase slightly in nearly half of Wisconsin’s counties last month, but three-fourths of Wisconsin counties had lower rates than they had one year ago, indicating the state’s job market continues to improve.

Fifty-four of the counties reported a lower unemployment rate in October 2004 than they had reported in October 2003, while fifteen had higher rates and three counties were unchanged. As tourism and outdoor activities for families begin winding down for the winter season ahead, unemployment rates begin to increase throughout much of the state, and October 2004 was no exception. Thirty-one counties had slightly higher rates in October than they had experienced in September, while twenty-five counties had lower rates and sixteen were unchanged. The greatest over-the-month increases were seen in Rusk and Langlade counties where the rates jumped by 0.8 percent. Rusk County saw its unemployment rate rise from 4.6 percent in September to 5.4 percent in October, while Langlade County saw an increase from 5.4 percent to 6.2 percent.

South central Wisconsin continued to experience very low unemployment rates, as did southwestern Wisconsin. The highest unemployment rate by region continues to be southeastern Wisconsin in spite of very low unemployment rates in Ozaukee, Walworth, Waukesha, and Washington counties.


All eleven metro areas reported lower rates in October 2004 than October 2003. The Racine, Wausau and Appleton metro areas had slightly higher seasonally adjusted rates in October 2004 than in September The La Crosse metropolitan area, the Madison metropolitan area, and the Sheboygan metropolitan area all had rates under 4.0 percent. The Janesville/Beloit metropolitan area, the Kenosha metropolitan area, and the Racine metropolitan area had October seasonally adjusted rates greater than 5.0 percent, while the Milwaukee/Waukesha metro area had a 5.0 percent seasonally adjusted rate.