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Wanted: More workers
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MONROE - While unemployment rates increased across Wisconsin's 32 largest cities between December and January, both Green and Lafayette counties remained relatively stable, dropping from 2016 numbers despite a slight bump from last month.

A report released by the Department of Workforce Development on Wednesday shows unemployment rose in 71 of the state's 72 counties. The rates aren't seasonally adjusted.

While some counties topped 8 percent unemployment, Green and Lafayette counties fared better than the overall state level. Wisconsin's January unemployment rate was 4.2 percent. Lafayette County was the seventh-lowest with a rate of 3.6 percent, up from 2.8 in December. Green County shortly followed at 3.8 percent, compared to 2.9 in December.

According to the Wisconsin DWD, in January of 2016, Wisconsin's unemployment not-seasonally adjusted rate was 5.2 percent. Green County had an unemployment rate of 4.2 percent. Lafayette County fared slightly better with a rate of 4.1 percent.

Jessica Segner, branch manager of Monroe's QPS Employment Group, said despite the stability of employment throughout the area, businesses have observed a noticeable labor shortage. The company, which works to place individuals with businesses in need of employees, has seen fewer viable workers in the face of a number of empty positions.

"I think there are definitely jobs available, there's just a shortage of people," Segner said. "A lack of qualified workers and a lack of people willing to work."

Segner is currently faced with filling 20 positions, a daunting task when negative "job performance is a job-turnover problem," she said, resulting in fewer potential workers with a positive record of employment.

Of Wisconsin's cities, the Associated Press reported that for this January, Racine had the highest unemployment rate at 5.7 percent, up from 5.4 percent in December. Madison and Fitchburg had the lowest rates at 2.7 percent each. Both cities' December rates were 2.5 percent. The only county to see a decrease was Menominee, where the rate dropped form 6.8 percent in December to 6.4 percent in January. Bayfield County had the highest unemployment at 8 percent, up from 7.5 percent.