DWD: April Local Unemployment Rates Announced

Rose Lynch, (608) 266-6753


Madison – Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Roberta Gassman today announced all twelve of Wisconsin’s metropolitan statistical areas, unemployment rates were lower in April than they had been in March, and all twelve were also down from the rates estimated for April 2004. The La Crosse MSA and the Eau Claire MSA saw the greatest over-the-month improvements with a 1.3 percentage point drop in the La Crosse MSA and a 1.0 percentage point drop in the Eau Claire MSA. The greatest over-the-year improvement was in the Milwaukee MSA where the unemployment rate was 4.9 percent in April 2005 compared to 5.7 percent in April 2004. Sheboygan also saw very strong over-the-year improvement dropping from 4.6 percent in April 2004 to 3.9 percent in April 2005.

Ten of the state’s twelve metro areas had unemployment rates below 5.0 percent. The La Crosse MSA, the Sheboygan MSA and the Madison MSA all had rates below 4.0 percent. The Janesville MSA and the Racine MSA had a 5.2 percent and 5.9 percent unemployment rate, respectively. Both of those MSAs were substantially improved over-the-month and over-the-year.


Seven Wisconsin counties had unemployment rates under 4.0 percent in April, led by Dane County with a 3.0 percent rate, Ozaukee County at 3.4 percent, Monroe County at 3.6 percent, and La Crosse County at 3.7 percent.

“This is another round of good news for Wisconsin. The state labor markets are seeing definite improvement,” Secretary Gassman said. “There are a few areas of the state which, although they have improved considerably, have yet to see the robust recovery the rest of the state has experienced. We will continue to concentrate efforts in those areas.”

Menominee was the only county of seventy-two that had a higher unemployment in April than it had in March, and even there, the number of people employed increased. The unemployment rate for the county was up as more people were reported looking for jobs in April than in March. As potential jobseekers sense that the labor market is beginning to improve, they often increase their job search. Menominee County also had the highest county unemployment rate in April, at 10.2 percent. Forest County had the next highest rate at 8.1 percent, and Vilas County was third at 7.8 percent.

Most areas of the state saw improvement in goods producing industry jobs and in service producing industry jobs. The goods producing strength was concentrated in the construction industry, as manufacturing was generally flat throughout the state. The service sector strength was widespread, by industry and by geographic areas of the state. Wholesale trade, health care, leisure and hospitality services, transportation and warehousing were among the industries exhibiting the greatest strength.

The northern tier of the state predictably saw the strongest over-the-month improvement as warm weather began to stir activity. Nevertheless, there was good spring recovery in the southern counties as well.