Local unemployment rates down again in Wisconsin

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Department of Workforce Development reports that preliminary unemployment rates dropped in all but two counties in April.

DWD reported Wednesday that unemployment dropped in all of the state's 32 largest cities between March and April.

The only counties where unemployment increased were Menominee and Iron. Dane County has the lowest unemployment rate at 3.8 percent.

Racine maintained the highest unemployment rate of any major city in Wisconsin at 10.2 percent. It was followed by Beloit at 9.2 percent unemployment and Milwaukee at 8.4 percent. Those three had the highest rates in April 2013.

The state's overall seasonally adjusted rate is 5.8 percent. That is the lowest it's been since October 2008.

The national unemployment rate is 6.3 percent.
MADISON, Wis. (DEPARTMENT OF WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT NEWS RELEASE) – The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) today released the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) estimates of unemployment and employment statistics for metro areas, major cities and counties in the state of Wisconsin. The estimates include revisions for March 2014 and preliminary estimates for April 2014. In brief, the estimates showed:
• Metropolitan Statistical Areas: Preliminary April 2014 unemployment rates (not seasonally adjusted) decreased in all 12 metro areas compared to rates in March 2014 and rates a year ago in April 2013. The April 2014 rates ranged from 4.0 percent in metro Madison to 7.4 percent in metro Racine
• Municipalities: Preliminary April 2014 rates decreased in all of Wisconsin’s 32 largest municipalities from rates in March 2014, as well as rates in April 2013. April 2014 rates ranged from 3.1 percent in Caledonia to 10.2 percent in Racine.
• Counties: April 2014 rates decreased in 70 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties compared to rates in March 2014 and in April 2013. Iron and Menominee rates increased over the month; Florence and Menominee rates increased over the year. The April 2014 rates ranged from 3.8 percent in Dane to 15.7 percent in Menominee.
The release of the April 2014 local, metro and county estimates follows last week's release of BLS estimates showing Wisconsin's preliminary unemployment rate dropped to 5.8 percent – its lowest point since October 2008 – and the state ranked 10th highest in total jobs created year over year. Other highlights include:

• Wisconsin's unemployment rate had a statistically significant decrease between April 2013 and April 2014. (2014 5.8% v. 2013 6.8%). Wisconsin's unemployment rate has fallen for nine consecutive months.
• Wisconsin's year-over-year increase in manufacturing jobs was 10,400 jobs, ranking 4th highest across the country.
• Wisconsin has a statistically significant private-sector job (Current Employment Statistics) increase between April 2013 and April 2014 was 44,000, which ranked 16th nationally.
• Wisconsin had a statistically significant total nonfarm job (CES) increase between April 2013 and April 2014 at 54,100, which ranked 10th nationally and the best of total nonfarm job growth rate of any neighboring state.

Other indicators that help illustrate the state of Wisconsin's economy include:

• Actual job counts show Wisconsin added 28,006 private-sector jobs from December 2012 to December 2013 and over 101,000 private sector jobs since December 2010, when 2014 estimates through April are included.
• Private-sector gains in actual jobs from Dec. 2010 to Dec. 2013 are the best three-year gains under any Governor since 2000.
• Private-sector wages increased by 2.2% between the fourth quarter of 2012 and fourth quarter of 2013.
• Initial weekly Unemployment Insurance (UI) claims for the first 19 weeks of 2014 dropped to the lowest point since 2000, and the annual average weekly UI claims are at a 13-year low.

The BLS uses three data sets to measure employment and unemployment:

• Current Employment Statistics (CES): compiled from a monthly survey sent to about 5,500 employers (3.5% of Wisconsin employers). CES data has been shown to be subject to substantial revision.
• Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS): compiled from a monthly survey of 1,450 households. Measures the labor force, employment, unemployment, and the unemployment rate.
• Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW): compiled on a quarterly basis from Unemployment Insurance records from some 96% of Wisconsin business establishments. Considered by most economists to be the most accurate measure of jobs, the QCEW includes data from almost all employers in Wisconsin.