DWD: December Unemployment Rates Announced

Rose Lynch (608) 266-6753

2004 average monthly unemployment rate lowest since 2001


Madison – Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Roberta Gassman today announced that Wisconsin’s unadjusted unemployment rate for December was estimated at 4.2 percent, making 2004 the first year with an average monthly rate below 5.0 percent since 2001.

The December rate matched the 4.2 percent rate in November. The December 2003 rate was 4.9 percent. The average monthly unemployment rate for all of 2004 is 4.9 percent, compared with 5.6 percent in 2003 and 5.5 percent in 2002. Wisconsin’s unadjusted rate of 4.2 percent for December 2004 is nearly a full percentage point below the national unadjusted rate of 5.1 percent.

“Setting the lowest average monthly unemployment rate in three years is yet another great sign that Wisconsin is on the move, as Governor Doyle said in his state of the state address last week,” Secretary Gassman said of the average rate for 2004. “Overall, the December figures show continued improvement, an impressive gain of 63,200 jobs from December of 2003.”

The job total for December was 2,857,100 compared with 2,872,800 in November. In December 2003, the total was 2,793,900. The increase of 63,200 jobs from December 2003 to last month was the second best in job growth for 2004. November was the best month with an increase of 67,600 jobs from November 2003.

Over the year, Wisconsin’s employment numbers averaged 2,824,600 jobs a month, compared with the 2003 monthly average of 2,778,900. The 2004 monthly average was 44,700 more than the figure for 2003. The closely watched manufacturing sector finished the year up 6,300 jobs from its 2003 monthly average. Other sectors showing gains were construction, 2,800 more jobs; trade, transportation and utilities, 11,500; financial activities, 2,000; administrative and support services, 13,200; education and health services, 10,300; leisure and hospitality, 6,000. Three sectors showed a decrease: government, down 4,900 jobs; other services, down 2,300, and information services, down 1,200 jobs.


Wisconsin’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 4.6 percent in December from 4.9 percent in November. That was the second month in 2004 when the seasonally adjusted rate dropped to 4.6 percent. The April seasonally adjusted rate was also estimated at 4.6 percent. In December 2003, the rate was 5.4 percent. The nation’s seasonally adjusted rate for December was 5.4 percent, unchanged from November. The national seasonally adjusted rate for December 2003 was 5.7 percent.

December’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm job total was down slightly from the very strong November figure, 2,838,900 compared to 2,845,300, but was still up 63,600 jobs from last year’s December figure.

December employment and unemployment figures for individual counties will be available January 26. This release also is available at http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/dwd/newsreleases/