Unemployment rates in nine metros lower than pre-pandemic

Nine of the state’s 12 major metropolitan areas had lower unemployment rates in March than pre-pandemic, the latest federal figures show. 

When comparing preliminary figures from last month with benchmarked data from March 2019, these metro areas had lower unemployment rates in March 2022: Appleton, Eau Claire, Fond du Lac, Green Bay, La Crosse-Onalaska, Madison, Oshkosh-Neenah, Sheboygan and Wausau. The rates for these areas were between 0.1 and 0.5 percent lower than the pre-pandemic period. 

Meanwhile, the Janesville-Beloit and Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis metro areas had higher unemployment rates, by 0.3 and 0.2 percent, respectively. Racine’s unemployment rate was unchanged over the two-year period. 

Unemployment rates last month ranged between 2.4 percent in Madison on the low end, and 4.2 percent in Racine on the high end. 

The benchmarked data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show unemployment rates in all of these metro areas shot upward in early 2020 as COVID-19 hit the economy. The latest data indicate metro-area unemployment rates in Wisconsin have largely recovered from the impact of the pandemic. 

See the latest release from the Department of Workforce Development: https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/press/2022/220420-march-local.htm 

Find the BLS data here: https://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/dsrv