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DWD: April Local Unemployment Rates Announced

Rose Lynch (608) 266-6753

Note: Web Audio mp3 file will be available after 2:00 p.m. today at http://www.dwd.state.wi.us/dwd/newsreleases/2004/052604.htm

Madison - Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Roberta Gassman today announced that 70 of Wisconsin's 72 counties reported lower unemployment rates for April 2004 than reported for March 2004. Only Iron and Menominee counties had higher rates. Seventy-one counties had lower rates in April 2004 than they had for April 2003. Only Adams County had a lower rate last April.

"We are pleased to report that the labor market saw considerable improvement in April, adding to improvements in March, with lower unemployment and healthy job growth in many areas," Gassman said. "While we are experiencing improvement in most areas, there remain parts of the state, especially the southeast corner, that continue to struggle from the economic difficulties of the national economy."

The highest county rate in the state was reported in Iron County at 12.6 percent, followed by an 11.4 percent rate for Menominee County, and a 9.3 percent rate for Oconto County. Dane County had the lowest rate for the state at 2.5 percent, followed closely by Ozaukee County at 3.2 percent and La Crosse and Iowa counties at 3.4 percent. There were five counties in the state with unemployment rates under 4.0 percent. Calumet County with a 3.7 percent rate joined the four above with that distinction. There were eighteen counties with April rates under 4.5 percent. The largest improvement was reported for Pepin County where the unemployment rate went from 10.0 percent in March to 5.5 percent in April.

Ten of Wisconsin's eleven metropolitan statistical areas, reported improved seasonally adjusted unemployment rates between March and April. Only the Wausau MSA had an increase. Wausau saw its rate go from 3.8 percent in March to 4.2 percent in April. All eleven Wisconsin metropolitan statistical areas had lower seasonally adjusted rates in April 2004 that they had in April 2003. Seven of those metro areas had seasonally adjusted rates 4.3 percent or below. The Racine metro area had the highest seasonally adjusted rate at 7.0 percent. The Janesville/Beloit metro area had a 6.3 percent seasonally adjusted rate.

Job growth was reported for most metro areas throughout the state except Janesville/Beloit, Kenosha, Milwaukee, and Racine. Racine's April figure showed no change from last year's April figure. Many metro areas even saw improvement in manufacturing employment. Private sector job gains over the year were reported for every metro area except Kenosha, Racine, and Milwaukee counties, emphasizing the difficulties that southeastern Wisconsin has experienced over the past three years.


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