April 2019 Unemployment

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St. Croix County’s April Unemployment Rate at 2.9%

On May 22nd, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) announced the preliminary April 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 2.9%. For comparison, St. Croix’s final rate in March was 3.6% and February’s final rate was 3.9%. One year ago, the county’s unemployment rate was estimated at 3.1%.

DWD said preliminary unemployment rates for April declined or remained the same in 68 of the 72 counties when compared to April 2018. The rates ranged from 1.9% in Dane County to 7.0% in Menominee.

The April 2019 preliminary unemployment rates declined or stayed the same year-over-year in 31 of Wisconsin’s 33 largest municipalities. Rates ranged from 1.9% in Fitchburg to 4.1% in Racine.

The five counties with the lowest unemployment rate in April include Dane (1.9%) and Calumet Fond du Lac, Lafayette, and Sheboygan (all at 2.1%). Menominee County had the highest rate in April at 7.0%, followed by Iron (6.2%), Bayfield (5.9%), Forest (5.3%), and Sawyer (5.1%).

St. Croix, Pierce, Polk, and Dunn counties comprise Wisconsin’s Greater St. Croix Valley. In addition to St. Croix’s rate of 2.9%, April’s preliminary rate in Pierce was also estimated at 2.9%, followed by Dunn at 3.0% and Polk at 3.8%.

St. Croix and Pierce counties are included in the 16-county Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington MN-WI metro area. The April 2019 unemployment rate for the Twin Cities was estimated at 2.8%, which is lower than March’s final rate of 3.6% and February’s final rate of 3.4%. The unemployment rate in the Twin Cities was 2.7% in April 2018.

For the fifteenth consecutive month, the preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate for Wisconsin was at or below 3.0%. For April, the rate was estimated at 2.8%, lower than then final rate of 2.9% for both March and February. One year ago, the state’s seasonally adjusted rate was 3.0%.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate in Minnesota in April was estimated at 3.3%, which is higher than March’s final rate of 3.2% and February’s final rate of 3.1%. Minnesota’s seasonally-adjusted rate one year ago was 3.0%.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate in the U.S. for April was estimated at 3.6%, which is lower than the final rate of 3.8% for both March and February. One year ago, the U.S. rate (seasonally adjusted) was estimated at 3.9%.

Wisconsin’s preliminary (seasonally adjusted) labor force participation rate for April was estimated at 67.5%, which is the same as the final rates for both March and February. 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 April was estimated at 62.8%, which is lower than March’s rate of 63.0% and February’s rate of 63.2 %. One year ago, the labor force participation rate in the U.S. was 62.8%.

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

Congratulations Grads; Employers Need You


Congratulations Grads; Employers Need You


The time honored tradition of commencements is here.

Graduates will be reminded by more than one speaker that commencement is not an ending, but a beginning. And yes, there will be opportunities to hit the re-set button, whether the button pertains to getting one’s act together or following one’s heart to paths less traveled.

For high schoolers transitioning to college or universities, including technical colleges, the only way to determine if those pegs fit into holes is to give it a try. Hopefully it is not an expensive lesson. Some may be ready; others, not so much. The following was overheard from a clerk at a convenience store, “I went to fill-in-the-blank college (identity withheld) for a year, but didn’t like it (or pick the reason).” And so it goes.

College and high school grads are entering a hot-hot-hot job market. Starting a few years ago, more people were retiring than entering the labor market. Wisconsin’s unemployment rate for April is at the historic low rate of 2.8 percent. The U.S. rate is at an unheard rate of 3.6 percent. If you believe news from the Department of Labor, a recent report suggested there were 7.8 million jobs openings in the U.S. The harsh reality: the gap between this estimate and number of unemployed people was 1.3 million. Yep, more jobs than people. In Wisconsin alone, the jobs bank has 90,000+ openings.

Don’t overlook the military. See the world. Earn life-long benefits, extending to education and even home ownership.

Don’t overlook the trades and labor. A two-year degree these days translates into solid jobs in construction, welding, metal fabrication, electrical. Hospitals and clinics seek new associates that form the foundation of their organizations – Registered Nurses, Certified Nursing Assistants, technicians, and dietary specialists.

To the grads of 2019, Congratulations! It’s time to take it to the next level. The St. Croix Valley is a special place. Many grads will discover this along the way. Employers here have plenty of openings, too.

Tourism Spending Up In 2018

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2018 Traveler Spending Up in the Greater St. Croix Valley
State’s Tourism Spending up 4.86% to $13.31 Billion

2018 traveler spending in St. Croix County increased to $117.7 million (+6.51% from 2017) according to an annual analysis released May 6th by the Wisconsin Department of Tourism. St. Croix’s $117.7 million from travelers resulted in total business sales of $193.0 million, reflecting a 5.71% increase from 2017. This spending supported an estimated 2,037 jobs in St. Croix (+3.94% from 2017) and generated $14.6 million in state and local tax revenues (+4.76% from 2016).

Statewide, travelers spent an estimated $13.318 billion in 2018, a 4.86% increase from 2017. Total business sales from tourists were estimated at $21.571 billion (+4.68% increase from 2017). Tourism and traveler-supported employment in Wisconsin in 2018 was estimated at 199,073 jobs (+1.67% from 2017). Tourism also provided the state with tax revenues of $1.581 billion in 2018 (+2.64% increase from 2017).

St. Croix, Polk, Pierce, and Dunn counties comprise the Greater St. Croix Valley. Visitor spending in 2018 for the 4-county region was estimated at $292.0 million compared to $272.4 million in 2017 (+7.19% from 2017). In addition to St. Croix’s estimated $117.7 million, 2018 visitor and traveler spending in Polk increased to $91.7 million from $87.3 million (+5.06% from 2017). Spending in Dunn County for 2018 was estimated at $52.9 million, compared to $45.8 million in 2017 (+15.48% from 2017). Pierce County’s spending from travelers increased to 29.7 million from $28.7 million in 2017 (+3.62%). Because of the Greater St. Croix Valley’s close proximity to the 16-county Twin Cities metro area, many visitors enjoy day trips to the Valley and return to their homes without incurring expenses on lodging. Overnight stays would greatly increase traveler spending in the Greater St. Croix Valley.

Total business sales from travelers and visitors to the Greater St. Croix Valley in 2018 were estimated at $477.9 million compared to $450.2 million in 2017 (a +6.15% increase). Business sales in St. Croix County were estimated at $193.0 million (+5.71% increase from 2017), followed by $138.2 million in Polk (+4.87% increase from 2017), $91.2 million in Dunn (+10.6% from 20167, and $53.4 million $55.5 million in Pierce (4.08% from 2017).

Tourism-related employment in the Greater St. Croix Valley for 2018 was estimated at 4,504 4,325 jobs (+4.14% from 2017). In addition to the estimated 2,037 tourism-related jobs in St. Croix, there were 1,138 in Polk (+3.48% from 2017), 881 in Dunn (+5.13% from 2017), and 448 in Pierce (+2.66% from 2017).

State and local tax revenues attributable to visitors and travelers in the Greater St. Croix Valley for 2018 were estimated at $33.9 million (+5.6% from 2017). Tax revenues in St. Croix were estimated at $14.6million, followed by Polk with $9.5 million, Dunn with $6.4 million, and Pierce with $3.4 million.

Milwaukee is the state’s top county for visitor spending estimated at $2.1 billion. The other counties in the Top 10 include Dane ($1.31 billion in visitor spending); Sauk ($1.13 billion); Waukesha ($823.9 million); Brown ($696.5 million); Walworth ($569.0 million); Door ($366.6 million); Outagamie ($361.7 million); La Crosse ($279.0 million); and Winnebago (254.2 million).

Tourism is one of Wisconsin’s top three industries along with manufacturing and agriculture.

For additional information, or to read the 2018 Economic Impact of Tourism in Wisconsin go to
http://industry.travelwisconsin.com/research/economic-impact and select the topic: “County Total Impact”.

Source: Wisconsin Department of Tourism, Tourism Economics, St. Croix Economic Development Corp.