DWD: July unemployment rates decline in all Wisconsin metro areas over year 

CONTACT: DWD Communications, 608-266-2722 

MADISON – 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 Wisconsin. The estimates include updates to June 2018 and preliminary estimates for July 2018.  Unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted.  The estimates show:

  • Metropolitan Statistical Areas: Preliminary July 2018 unemployment rates declined in all 12 of Wisconsin’s metro areas over the year from July 2017 to July 2018.  The rates ranged from 2.4 percent in Madison to 4.0 percent in Racine.  The Racine and Janesville-Beloit metro areas experienced their lowest July unemployment rate on record (1990).
  • Municipalities: Preliminary July 2018 unemployment rates declined or stayed the same in 31 of Wisconsin’s 32 largest cities over the year from July 2017 to July 2018.  Racine experienced the largest decline over the year, 0.7 percent.  The rates ranged from 2.3 percent in Fitchburg to 4.9 percent in Racine.  Of Wisconsin’s 32 largest cities, 15 either set or tied their lowest July unemployment rates on record (1990).
  • Counties: Preliminary July 2018 unemployment rates declined or stayed the same over the year from July 2017 to July 2018 in 69 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties. Pepin and Florence County tied for the largest unemployment rate decline over the year, 0.8 percent.  Twenty-two of Wisconsin’s 72 counties experienced or tied their lowest July unemployment rate on record (1990).

The release of July 2018 local rates follows last week’s release of BLS monthly statewide estimates which showed that Wisconsin maintained a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate under 3 percent for the sixth straight month, setting another record.  The data also showed that Wisconsin’s addition of 21,300 manufacturing jobs from July 2017 to July 2018 ranked 2nd nationally, trailing only Texas’s addition of 21,400.

When compared to other states. Wisconsin continues to rank in the top 10 nationally in numerous measurements:

  • Wisconsin ranked 6th nationally percent growth in the state’s manufacturing industry over the last three months
  • Wisconsin ranked 9th nationally in percent growth in the state’s manufacturing industry over the last six months
  • Wisconsin ranked 5th nationally in percent growth in the state’s manufacturing industry from July 2017 through July 2018, and 2nd in the Midwest
  • Wisconsin ranked 5th nationally in percent growth in the state’s manufacturing industry in 2018
  • Wisconsin’s addition of 2,500 manufacturing jobs in July ranked 3rd nationally, and 2nd in the Midwest
  • Wisconsin’s manufacturing job gains over the last three months ranked 2nd nationally
  • Wisconsin’s manufacturing job gains over the last six months ranked 2nd nationally
  • Wisconsin’s addition of 21,300 manufacturing jobs from July 2017 through July 2018 ranked 2nd nationally, and 1st in the Midwest
  • Wisconsin’s addition of 15,700 manufacturing jobs in 2018 ranked 2nd nationally
  • Wisconsin’s addition of 9,100 private-sector jobs in July ranked 8th nationally, and 1st in the Midwest
  • Wisconsin’s percent growth in private-sector jobs in July ranked 7th nationally, and 1st in the Midwest
  • Wisconsin’s July seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 2.9 percent tied for 7th lowest nationally
  • Wisconsin’s labor force participation rate of 68.9 percent tied for 5th highest nationally

Other indicators of the state of Wisconsin’s economy include:

  • Initial UI claims ended 2017 at their lowest level in the last 30 years.
  • Continuing unemployment claims ended 2017 at their lowest level since 1973.
  • Moody’s Investor Service recently upgraded the state’s credit rating, noting that “(T)he stable outlook reflects the expectation that the state will experience moderate economic growth and will continue its prudent fiscal management practices.”

The data included in today’s release can be accessed on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website.

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