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MAY UNEMPLOYMENT RATES POST RECORD DROP
MADISON – Gov. McCallum announced today that the unadjusted unemployment rate for Wisconsin dropped a record 1.2 percent last month as more than 35,000 citizens re-entered the workforce. The unemployment rate dropped from 5.7 percent in April to 4.5 percent in May, signifying the largest one-month decrease in the unemployment rate in the past 11 years. The average decrease from April to May in the past 10 years is a 0.4 percentage point drop, according to figures released by the Department of Workforce Development.
"Wisconsin’s economy continues to improve and move in the right direction, and that is great news for the hard-working men and women of this state," Gov. McCallum said. "The May report shows employment gains in all private industry sectors, including manufacturing, and marks the second straight month that more people in this state are working."
Wisconsin’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for May was estimated at 4.8 percent compared to 5.4 percent in April and 4.4 in May 2001. The national seasonally adjusted rate for May was 5.5 percent, down slightly from the April figure of 5.7 percent.
The number of people unemployed in Wisconsin was estimated at 137,700, down from 174,000 in April. One year ago, there were 124,500 people reported unemployed in Wisconsin. The number of people reported as employed rose from 2,872,300 in April to 2,902,700 in May, an increase of 30,400. This increase was slightly larger than the 10-year average for April-May for the state, which was 27,674.
The number of jobs held by workers increased by 35,000 in May. Leading the way was the miscellaneous services industry, which gained 11,500 jobs; followed by the construction industry, also showing buoyancy and vitality, increasing by 11,200 jobs. Trade showed the third greatest increase in employment, rising 8,200 jobs in May. Every industry in Wisconsin except the government sector registered a gain between April and May, including manufacturing, which added 1,400 jobs in May. The overall job market was up 1,300 jobs from the May 2001 figure. The state’s current month’s figure had trailed the previous year’s corresponding monthly total for 13 months. Not since March of 2001 had the state seen an annual increase in jobs.
May employment and unemployment figures for individual counties should be available on June 26. This release also is available at www.dwd.state.wi.us/lmi.
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Content Contact: Terry Ludeman