Wisconsin's unemployment rate dips to 2.9% for first time

Terry Joseph
March 24, 2018

The labor force participation rate, which measures how many people are working out of everyone 16 or older, was 68.6 percent, which is still well short of the record high of 74.8 percent in September and October 1997.

The state Department of Workforce Development released data Thursday that shows the unemployment rate dipped to 2.9 percent in February, down 0.2 percent from January to mark a record low.

The unemployment rate was "9.4 percent with a decrease of 0.2 percentage points for men and 14.1 percent with an increase of 0.4 percentage points for women", the institute said. "Increases were widespread across industries".

The state's unemployment rate is still below the national rate of 4.1.

Unemployment was highest among people aged 20 to 24 at 11.89 percent, followed by the 15-to-19 age group at 8.1 percent and those aged 25 to 29 at 6.46 percent, the report said. Over the year, Other Services are up 2,600 (+1.9%) jobs.

Those losses were offset by the addition of 1,500 construction jobs, 900 manufacturing jobs and 1,700 jobs in trade, transportation and utilities.

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State analysts did not offer any explanation for the construction boost, but Reaser said it reflects an ongoing demand for housing as well as public and private nonresidential activity. The U.S. growth rate during that period was 1.7 percent.

"The state continues to maintain job growth in spite of a short supply of workers", said Secretary Lana Gordon. "But job openings are growing, as contractors encounter a shrinking pool of experienced job seekers".

Kentucky's statewide unemployment rate and employment levels are seasonally adjusted. It represents a small drop from February a year ago, when the figure was 4.8 percent. Texas was second, up 33,900 to 740,200, and Florida was third, up 31,700 to 532,400.

Governor Rick Scott used the announcement of new job numbers as an opportunity to praise the recent passing of tax cuts by the state legislature and a proposed constitutional amendment that would require a two-thirds vote in order to raise taxes.

New Mexico's unemployment rate is down, with the Department of Workforce Solutions reporting that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for February was 5.8 percent, down from 5.9 percent in January.

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