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Green, Lafayette again lead state in low jobless rate
newspaper brief

MADISON — Green and Lafayette counties have regained the shared title of having the lowest unemployment rates in the state, followed by a neighbor to the north, Dane County, which posted the third lowest rate.

Green County’s number fell to 2.1%, from the 2.6 number recorded in March but statistically higher year-over-year, as last year’s April jobless number was at 1.7%. For Lafayette County, meanwhile the rate also fell to 2.1% for April, the most recent statistic available — also down from 2.6% in March. Last year at this time the rate for Lafayette was at 1.7%.

At the beginning of the year, Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers touted the already shrinking unemployment rate for the state and declared it — with the trend of a brightening job market — to be the Year of The Worker here in 2024.

“In April last year, our state unemployment rate hit a record-low of 2.4 percent. Last year, Wisconsin had the all-time lowest number of unemployed workers ever in modern history,” Evers said in a press release. “And our state’s labor force participation rate also consistently remained above the national average throughout the year. So, it’s also time to retire the well-worn political talking point that Wisconsinites aren’t working or working hard — Wisconsinites work hard, and they are working.”

The news comes as the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development recently released the detailed version of U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates of employment and unemployment statistics for metropolitan areas, major cities, and counties in Wisconsin for April 2024.

For Wisconsin, the data shows several developments:

●  Metropolitan Statistical Areas: Preliminary April 2024 unemployment rates decreased in all 12 Wisconsin areas over the month; rates increased in all 12 areas over the year.

●  Municipalities: Preliminary April 2024 unemployment rates decreased or stayed the same in all of Wisconsin’s 35 largest cities over the month; rates increased in 34 cities over the year.

●  Counties: Preliminary April 2024 unemployment rates decreased in 71 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties over the month; rates decreased or stayed the same in 19 counties over the year.

Even with the great news helping boost some political fortunes in the state, Evers said more needs to be done structurally to make sure the benefits of such a good unemployment outlook are shared equally. And that process starts with child care, according to the governor.

“From my vantage point, three things are key to addressing our state’s workforce challenges: first, we must find a long-term solution to our state’s looming child care crisis; second, we must expand paid family leave; and third, we must invest in public education at every level, from early childhood to our technical colleges and universities,” Evers said.

Nationally and in Wisconsin, good job numbers have failed to boost consumer confidence significantly, as uncertainty, inflation and consumer cost increases continue to dog consumers, according to financial experts.