Dick Jones, (608) 266-6753
Madison – Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Roberta Gassman today announced that ten of the state’s twelve metropolitan statistical areas had lower rates in August than they had in July, while two were unchanged. Five of the metro areas had unemployment rates under 4.0 percent in August.
Perhaps a more telling sign of Wisconsin’s economic growth, Secretary Gassman noted that when compared to rates a year ago, the local August unemployment rates for all 12 metropolitan areas were down. The August rate for the Milwaukee metropolitan area was 4.8 percent compared to 5.3 percent a year ago.
The Madison metro area had the lowest rate in August at 3.0 percent. The La Crosse metro area also had a very low 3.6 percent unemployment rate.
Fifty-two of Wisconsin’s seventy-two counties experienced lower unemployment rates in August than they had experienced in July, twelve were unchanged, and eight had higher rates. Twenty-nine counties had unemployment rates under 4.0 percent in August.
“Wisconsin’s labor market showed continued improvement in August, particularly in the south central part of the state, where unemployment rates were generally the lowest, but also in the western portion, which had low rates of unemployment as well,” Secretary Gassman said. “Somewhat higher rates were reported in northern counties, where recovery has been somewhat less robust.”
The state’s lowest unemployment rate was in Dane County at 2.9 percent, while Trempealeau and Iowa counties had rates of 3.3 percent, and Pierce, Richland, and Sauk counties were estimated at 3.4 percent.
Seven counties had unemployment rates of 5.5 percent or higher. Menominee County had the highest county unemployment rate in August at 13.0 percent. Forest and Iron counties were next at 5.8 percent, and Milwaukee and Racine both had 5.7 percent rates.
The largest improvement between July and August was experienced in Rock County where the rate dropped from a very high 8.5 percent in July to 4.9 percent in August. Ashland County and Iron County also experienced sizeable decreases in unemployment rates of 1.8 percent and 2.1 percent, respectively.
Fifty-two counties had lower rates in August 2005 than they had in August 2004, while eight counties were unchanged and twelve experienced higher rates this year than last year in August.