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Contact: Terry Ludeman, 608/267-3262
JANUARY UNEMPLOYMENT RATES RELEASED
MADISON – The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) today announced the state’s preliminary seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for the month of January was 3.8 percent, up from 3.4 percent for the month of December.
"January’s slight increase in unemployment is not surprising when you consider Wisconsin had one of the most severe winters in many years and we’ve seen a slowing of the national economy," said DWD Secretary Jennifer Reinert.
The national unemployment rate for the month of January rose to 4.2 percent, marking the 156th consecutive month that Wisconsin’s unemployment rate has been lower than the national rate.
"Despite indications of a slowing national economy and a winter featuring some of the coldest and heaviest snowfall statistics on record, Wisconsin maintained a lower unemployment rate than the nation as a whole in January, as it has for the past 13 years," said DWD Secretary Jennifer Reinert.
Construction workers and durable goods manufacturing workers appear to be the most affected by the increased unemployment level, which indicates a national economic slowdown and harsh winter are largely to blame for the modest rise in unemployment. In Wisconsin, approximately 13 percent of workers are in durable goods manufacturing and another 4 percent in the construction and mining group.
While durable goods manufacturing is generally the first industry affected by a slowdown in the economy, the good news is that the concentration of workers in those industries is far less for Wisconsin now than it was in decades past. Meanwhile, the service industry group, which includes business services, health services, engineering, accounting and other management services, has added 602,500 workers since 1960, a 418 percent increase - indicating the state’s economy is more diverse today.
"Should there be a continued economic slowdown nationally, Wisconsin will likely not be affected as severely as it might have been in years past," said Terry Ludeman, the state’s top labor market analyst. "The state has become much more diverse in its industrial mix and is significantly less reliant on durable goods manufacturing," he said.
"There has been much talk about an economic downturn nationally and locally. While we have seen some slowing here, and we are watching all the indicators closely, it’s important to note that the bottom is not dropping out of the economy, as many seem to be suggesting. The impact of last year’s interest rate hikes, which began to have an effect on the national economy this past winter, and this year’s severe winter were bound to have some affect on the state. We are optimistic that recent action by the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates and the normal seasonal recovery the state experiences in the spring months will have a positive impact," Ludeman said.
"In addition, it’s important to recognize the difficulty of maintaining economic performance like we’ve experienced the last three years, a slight slowdown at some point is expected. Even so, last month’s unadjusted unemployment rate was still a full .5 percentage points below the average January rate for Wisconsin during the 1990s, which is an indication that Wisconsin’s economy is still healthy," he noted.
NOTE TO NEWS MEDIA
County employment and unemployment figures for January should be available on March 7. This release and other labor market information is available on the department Internet site at: http://www.dwd.state.wi.us/dwelmi
|Division of Administrative Services |
Content Contact: Terry Ludeman