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Unemployment drops to 5.9%, over 4,000 jobs added last month


MADISON, Wis. (WSAU) -- Unemployment in Wisconsin is below 6% for the first time since November of 2008. The new figures were released Thursday. Wisconsin is at 5.9% unemployment compared to the national average of 6.7%.

Dennis Winters from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development says we are making slow but steady progress.  “It’s headed in the right direction for all of the right reasons, that being that Wisconsin’s workforce is increasing and employment is going up, and unemployment is going down.”

Wisconsin still has economically challenged areas, such as the northwoods and in northwestern Wisconsin, but Winters says they are seeing encouraging job growth in several metro areas.  “Well, the biggest growth in jobs seems to be in some of the cities like we’re seeing in the southeast, the Madison area, up in the northeast somewhat, some in the midstate, and then over in the Eau Claire area also.”

The growth isn’t as fast as Winters would like to see, but he is encouraged by the growth in several different sectors of the state’s economy.  “Well, we’re seeing job growth pretty much across the board. It’s not rocketing out of here as we would like, but we’re seeing good growth in manufacturing, we’re seeing growth in health care fields, construction is on its way back. As you look across a lot of the industries, things are increasing as the economy grows.”

In real numbers, Winters says statewide, 2014 is much better than this same period a year ago. “There was a gain of 4,000 people employed in the last month, and that’s up some 33, almost 34-thousand year over year.”

More unemployment figures are expected next week that will reflect how the seasonal job market is doing.

Unemployment claims are at a 13 year low, and the number of initial claims are at the lowest since 2000.

(Our interview with Dennis Winters can be heard on our website, here.)