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County has lowest May unemployment rate in state

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) announced the preliminary May 2013 unemployment rates for Wisconsin's 72 counties last week. St. Croix County's rate was estimated at 4.4 percent, lowest in the state of Wisconsin. The county's rate is also lower than April's rate of 5.2 percent and March's rate of 6.1 percent. One year ago, the county's unemployment rate was estimated at 4.9 percent.

DWD said 70 of the 72 counties had rate decreases between April and May. Compared to May 2012, the rates in 51 of the counties either declined or remained the same. Of Wisconsin's 32 municipalities with a population of least 25,000 residents, 27 experienced a rate decrease or remained the same between April and May. Compared to one year ago, the rates in 18 of the 32 communities either declined or remained the same.

St. Croix's unemployment rate for May is the lowest in the state, according to DWD. Nearby, Pierce at the second-lowest rate at 4.5 percent, followed by Dane (4.8 percent), Pepin (5.1 percent), and La Crosse (5.2 percent). Menominee (13.8 percent) had the highest unemployment rate in May, followed by Iron (11.5 percent), Sawyer (9.7 percent), Ashland (9.5 percent) and Bayfield (9.4 percent).

St. Croix, Pierce, Polk, and Dunn counties comprise Wisconsin's Greater St. Croix Valley. In addition to the May rates for St. Croix and Pierce (above), Dunn's rate was 5.9 percent (down from April's final rate of 6.3 percent) and Polk's rate was 7.2 percent (down from April's rate of 8.6 percent). Year over year, St. Croix, Pierce, and Polk had lower unemployment rates, but the rate in Dunn is higher than one year ago.

The 13-county Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington MN-WI metro area reported an unemployment rate of 4.7 percent in May. One year ago, the unemployment rate in the Twin Cities was 5.2 percent.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate for Wisconsin for May was estimated at 7.0 percent, which is lower than the February-March-April rate of 7.1 percent. One year ago, the state's seasonally adjusted rate was also 7.0 percent.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate in Minnesota for May was estimated at 5.3 percent. Minnesota's seasonally adjusted rate one year ago was 5.7 percent.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate in the U.S. in May was estimated at 7.6 percent, compared to 7.5 percent in April and March's rate of 7.6 percent. One year ago the U.S. rate was estimated at 8.2 percent.

May's estimates are preliminary and are subject to revision within the next few weeks.

Doug Stohlberg

Doug Stohlberg has been part of the Hudson Star-Observer since 1973 and has been editor since 1987. He worked at the New Richmond News from 1971 to 1973. He holds a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota.

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