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— The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) 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 for September 2016 and the preliminary estimates for October 2016.

As these numbers are not seasonally adjusted, they are most appropriately compared year-over-year instead of month-over-month as rates often increase in the colder winter months due to the seasonality of the state economy. In brief, the not-seasonally adjusted estimates showed:

Metropolitan Statistical Areas: Preliminary October 2016 unemployment rates decreased in all areas over the year when compared to October 2015. The largest over the year decline was 0.6 percent in Racine and Janesville-Beloit. The not-seasonally adjusted data also showed rates decreased or stayed the same in 7 of the 12 metro areas when compared to September 2016 rates. The latest rates ranged from 2.7 percent in Madison to 4.3 percent in Racine.  

Municipalities: Preliminary October 2016 rates decreased in 30 of the state's 32 largest municipalities when compared to October 2015. The latest rates ranged from 2.5 percent in Fitchburg to 5.3 percent in Racine.  The not-seasonally adjusted data also showed rates decreased or stayed the same in 19 of the 32 municipalities when compared to September 2016 rates.

Counties: Preliminary October 2016 rates decreased or remained the same in 70 counties when compared to October 2015 rates, and decreased or remained the same in 45 of 72 counties when compared to September 2016 rates. The latest rates ranged from 2.6 percent in Lafayette to 6.4 percent in Menominee.

The release of the October 2016 local rates follows last week's release of BLS monthly estimates showing a preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 4.1 percent in October 2016, maintaining its lowest rate since February 2001. The state also added a significant 28,400 total non-farm jobs and 27,900 private sector jobs over the year ending in October 2016.

This release also follows BLS's release of QCEW figures covering the second quarter of 2016 showing a gain of 25,656 private-sector jobs and an increase of 26,313 total jobs in the year ending June 2016.

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

  • Year 2016 initial UI claims are running at their lowest levels since 1989.
  • Continuing unemployment claims in Wisconsin are running the lowest in at least the past 30 years.
  • Wisconsin's labor force participation rate outpaces the national rate by 5.6 percentage points.
  • According to the most recent Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages data, Wisconsin's total private sector wages grew by 4.4 percent from June 2015 to June 2016.
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