March 2019 Unemployment

Trending News


St. Croix County’s March Unemployment Rate at 3.6%

On April 24th, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) announced the preliminary March 2019 unemployment rates for Wisconsin’s 72 counties and the 33 cities with populations greater than 25,000 residents. St. Croix County’s rate was estimated at 3.6%. For comparison, St. Croix’s final rate in February was 3.9% and January’s final rate was 4.0%. One year ago, the county’s unemployment rate was estimated at 3.7%.

DWD said preliminary unemployment rates for March declined or remained the same in 62 of the 72 counties when compared to March 2018. The rates ranged from 2.3% in Dane County to 6.9% in Bayfield and Iron.

The March 2019 preliminary unemployment rates declined year-over-year in 32 of Wisconsin’s 33 largest municipalities. Rates ranged from 2.2% in Fitchburg to 4.9% in Racine.

The five counties with the lowest unemployment rate in March include Dane (2.3%), Sheboygan (2.6%) Calumet (also at 2.6%), followed by Ozaukee, Washington, Waukesha, and Winnebago (all at 2.7%). Bayfield and Iron Counties had the highest rate in March at 6.9%, followed by Burnett (6.5%), Adams (5.9%), and Rusk and Forest (both at 5.7%).

St. Croix, Pierce, Polk, and Dunn counties comprise Wisconsin’s Greater St. Croix Valley. In addition to St. Croix’s rate of 3.6%, March’s preliminary rate in Dunn was also estimated at 3.6%, followed by Pierce also at 3.7% and Polk at 5.0%.

St. Croix and Pierce counties are included in the 16-county Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington MN-WI metro area. The March 2019 unemployment rate for the Twin Cities was estimated at 3.6% which is higher than February’s final rate of 3.4% and January’s final rate of 3.6%. The unemployment rate in the Twin Cities was 3.3% in March 2018.

For the fourteenth consecutive month, the preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate for Wisconsin was at or below 3.0%. For March, the rate was estimated at 2.9%, which is the same as February’s final rate but lower than January’s final rate of 3.0%. One year ago, the state’s seasonally adjusted rate was 3.0%.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate in Minnesota in March was estimated at 3.2%, which is higher than February’s final rate of 3.1% and January’s final rate of 3.0%. Minnesota’s seasonally-adjusted rate one year ago was 3.0%.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate in the U.S. for March was estimated at 3.8% which is the same as February’s final rate but lower than January’s final rate of 4.0%. One year ago, the U.S. rate (seasonally adjusted) was estimated at 4.1%.

Wisconsin’s preliminary (seasonally adjusted) labor force participation rate for March was estimated at 67.5%, which is the same as the final rates for both February and January. One year ago, Wisconsin’s labor force participation rate was 68.2%. The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) labor force participation rate for the U.S. in March was estimated at 63.0%, which is lower than the final of 63.2 % for both February and January. One year ago, the labor force participation rate in the U.S. was 62.9%.

March’s estimates are preliminary and are subject to revision within the next few weeks.

Small Businesses Make BIG Impact


Small Businesses Make BIG Impact


Long before Mr. Sam Walton became a dominate player in retail and distribution, he boldly opened Walton’s 5/10 (Five and Dime) in Bentonville, Arkansas in 1950. His decision to take a chance in Bentonville was less than scientific – wife Helen liked small town living and the city’s location in northwest Arkansas enabled Sam to take advantage of numerous hunting seasons in neighboring states. Success in Bentonville led to the first Walmart store in nearby Rogers, Arkansas in 1962. The rest is not history. History is still being made by Walmart.

Boyhood friends Bill Gates and Paul Allen talked frequently about starting a business that could build on their computer programming skills. Before there was Microsoft, Gates and Allen teamed up on little-known Traf-O-Data, a computer that was used to track and analyze automobile traffic data, back in 1972. Finding early success, the duo established Microsoft in April 1975. The original name was Micro-Soft, a shortened version of microcomputer software. History at Microsoft continues to be written.

Earl Bakken and a brother in-law launched Medtronic in Minneapolis-Fridley, Minnesota back in 1949. It served as a medical equipment repair business out of one of the partner’s garages. Bakken was later introduced to Dr. C. Walton Lillehei, a heart surgeon at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Lillehei suggested that Bakken develop a battery powered pacing device for the heart. Today, Medtronic is a global giant in medical technology.

Walton, Gates, Allen, and Bakken all started small. Success led to growth, which led to stock offerings and publicly-traded companies. Thousands and thousands are employed in companies started by them. Each of these companies has spawned other businesses from former employees with bigger and brighter ideas.

2019’s U.S. Small Business Week is May 5-11. The week celebrates and recognizes the importance of small businesses. There are 30.2 million small businesses in the U.S., according to the Small Business Administration’s office of advocacy. In fact, a small, independent business can be quite large – having less than 500 employees, and not dominant in its market. They comprise 99.9 percent of all firms, including 97.6 percent of exporting firms. An estimated 47.5 percent of all private sector employees earn their paychecks from small businesses, which amounts to 40.8 percent of the private sector’s payroll. Best of all, 66 percent of all net new jobs come from small businesses.

From Main Streets to business and industrial parks, communities are full of small businesses. Like Walton, Gates, Allen, and Bakken, small business founders are risk takers, innovators, and generally independent. Here’s to small businesses. Happy Small Business Week 2019.