Rose Lynch, (608) 266-6753
Madison – Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Roberta Gassman today announced six of Wisconsin’s twelve Metropolitan Statistical Areas had lower unemployment rates in May than they had experienced in April, three were unchanged and three had slightly higher rates in May. The three metro areas that saw no change between April and May all had unemployment rates under 4.0 percent. The Sheboygan Metro Area, with a 3.9 percent unemployment rate in April and May, the La Crosse Metro Area, with a 3.7 percent unemployment rate in April and in May, and the Madison Metro Area, with a 3.2 percent unemployment rate in April and May had the state’s lowest MSA rates. The Racine Metro Area, the Wausau Metro Area and the Milwaukee/Waukesha Metro Area all had slightly higher unemployment rates in May than they had in April. Although the unemployment rates were slightly higher in those three MSAs, all three saw an increase in jobs between April and May.
Seven metro areas had lower unemployment rates in May 2005 than they had in May 2004, while three were unchanged and two had higher rates. The Wausau metro area had a 4.3 percent rate in May 2005 compared to a 4.2 percent rate in May 2004, and the Appleton metro area also had a 4.3 percent rate in May 2005 compared to 4.2 percent in May 2004.
Fifty-four of Wisconsin’s seventy-two counties had lower unemployment rates in May than they had experienced in April, while nine were unchanged and nine had higher rates in May. There were thirteen counties with unemployment rates below 4.0 percent. Ironically, Dane County with a 3.1 percent unemployment rate, the state’s lowest unemployment rate, was one of the nine counties that experienced a higher rate for May than April. Ozaukee County had the next lowest unemployment rate at 3.6 percent. Four counties had 3.7 percent unemployment rates. There were several counties, including Buffalo, La Crosse, Pierce, St. Croix, Trempealeau and Vernon, along the state’s western boundary with unemployment rates under 4.0 percent. Menominee and Iron counties, with rates of 10.3 and 7.5 percent were the only counties in the state with unemployment rates of 7.0 percent or higher.
“Fifty-four of seventy-two counties improved their unemployment rates last month, as did six of our twelve metropolitan areas, in another good round of news on the state’s job front in May,” Secretary Gassman said. Despite the fact that Wisconsin’s labor markets continued showing improvement in May, we continue to watch several areas where growth is less robust than we’d like to see.”
Forty-one of the state’s counties had lower rates in May of 2005 than they had experienced in May of 2004, while eight were unchanged and 23 had higher rates. Among the counties experiencing lower rates, the best improvements were seen in Langlade County, Menominee County and Manitowoc County, where unemployment rates dropped 1.6 percent, 1.3 percent, and 1.1 percent from last year’s rates. The largest increase from one year ago was experienced in Taylor County, where the unemployment rate was 6.8 percent in May of 2005 compared to 4.6 percent in May of 2004. Taylor County had temporary layoffs in May that occurred in the survey week leading to the much higher unemployment rate. Clark and Iron counties experienced a full 1.0 percent increase.