October 2019 Unemployment

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St. Croix County’s October Unemployment Rate at 2.6%

On November 20th, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) announced the preliminary October 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 2.6%. For comparison, St. Croix’s final rate in September was 2.7% and August’s final rate was 2.9%. One year ago, the county’s unemployment rate was estimated at 2.3%.

DWD said preliminary unemployment rates from September to October declined or remained the same in 68 of the 72 counties. The rates ranged from 2.0% in Lafayette to 6.6% in Menominee.

Preliminary unemployment rates declined or stayed the same in 32 of Wisconsin’s 33 largest municipalities from September to October. Rates ranged from 2.1% in Madison to 4.5% in Racine.

The five counties with the lowest unemployment rate in October include Lafayette (2.0%), Dane (2.1%), Iowa (also at 2.1%), Green (2.2%), and Calumet (2.3%). Menominee County had the highest rate in October at 6.6%, followed by Iron (4.6%), Price (4.5%), Marinette (3.8%), and Rusk (3.7%).

St. Croix, Pierce, Polk, and Dunn counties comprise Wisconsin’s Greater St. Croix Valley. In addition to St. Croix’s rate of 2.6%, October’s preliminary rate in Pierce was 2.4%, while Dunn was at 2.5% and Polk at 2.7%.

St. Croix and Pierce counties are included in the 15-county Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington MN-WI metro area. The October 2019 unemployment rate for the Twin Cities was estimated at 2.5%, which is the same as the final rate for September but lower than August’s final rate of 2.9%. The unemployment rate in the Twin Cities was 2.1% in October 2018.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate for Wisconsin in October was estimated at 3.3%, which is higher than September’s final rate of 3.2% and August’s final rate of 3.1%. One year ago, the state’s seasonally adjusted rate was 3.0%.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate in Minnesota in October was estimated at 3.2 %, which is the same as September’s final rate, but lower than August’s final rate of 3.3%. Minnesota’s seasonally-adjusted rate one year ago was 2.8%.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate in the U.S. for October was estimated at 3.6%, which is higher than September’s final rate of 3.5% but lower than August’s final rate of 3.7%. One year ago, the U.S. rate (seasonally adjusted) was estimated at 3.7%

Wisconsin’s preliminary (seasonally adjusted) labor force participation rate for October was estimated at 67.1%, which is lower than the final rate of 67.2% for both September and August. One year ago, Wisconsin’s labor force participation rate was 68.4%. The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) labor force participation rate for the U.S. in October was estimated at 63.3%, which is higher than the final rate of 63.2% for both September and August. One year ago, the labor force participation rate in the U.S. was 62.9%.

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

August 2017 Unemployment Table
August 2017 Unemployment Comparison
August 2017 Participation Rate

Make an Impact: Shop Small


Make an Impact: Shop Small


In 2010, financial services giant American Express launched a promotion aimed at small business vitality along Main Streets, U.S.A.

It’s called Small Business Saturday® (SBS) and occurs on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, meaning it’s sandwiched between mega-shopping events, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. SBS encourages consumers to ‘shop small’ in their respective home towns. More times than not, shopping locally means shopping at family-owned businesses. Even nationally-branded shops are likely operated by a local franchise holder, who could be a neighbor, volunteer coach, and planning commission member all rolled into one.

Small adds up. American Express says local spending on SBS has reached a reported $103 billion from those nine designated days from 2010-2018. Another study says for every dollar spent at a small business in the U.S., around 67 cents stays in the local community. This equates to wages, taxes, chamber memberships, and donations to just about every worthy cause.

Little events get big attention. In 2011, the U.S. Senate put gridlock aside and unanimously passed a resolution of support for SBS. Community boosters in all fifty states are on-board with unique SBS promotions. On several occasions, President Obama took his daughters shopping on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. He even offered a shout-out to SBS supporters, “From the mom-and-pop storefront shops that anchor Main Street to the high-tech start-ups that keep America on the cutting edge, small businesses are the backbone of our economy and the cornerstones of our Nation’s promise. These businesses create two out of every three new jobs in America, helping spur economic development in communities across our country and giving millions of families and individuals the opportunity to achieve the American dream. Through events such as Small Business Saturday, we keep our local economies strong and help maintain an American economy that can compete and win in the 21st century.”

From framed artwork to artisan jewelry and from hearty soups, burgers, and brews, all can be found in central business districts in the St. Croix Valley. Let’s shop them on November 30th. Better yet, let’s shop them year ‘round.

College Student Overcomes Donut Barrier


College Student Overcomes Donut Barrier


Entrepreneurship is a tangled road filled with barriers as college student Jayson Gonzalez recently discovered. In a classic Little Guy versus Big Corporation, Gonzalez found himself crossways with the donut-maker, Krispy Kreme.

Jayson is a 21-year college student at Metro State University in St. Paul, Minnesota. College and financial struggles seem to go hand in hand. His goal is to graduate from Metro State debt free. But how?

If necessity is the mother of all inventions, then it’s a sweet tooth in Jayson’s case. Gonzalez developed a loyal customer base for Krispy Kreme donuts, which had closed its retail outlets in Minnesota 10+ years ago. The masses were willing to pay a premium for the donuts, so Jayson made weekly road trips to a suburban Ankey, Iowa Krispy Kreme shop and bought them in bulk. He did not receive a discount on his purchases and his 2008 Ford Focus carried as many as 100 boxes of the sweet delights. At a dozen donuts per box, Jayson the Entrepreneur crossed the Iowa-Minnesota state line in the name of commerce surrounded by 1,200 donuts.

Just like Business Planning 101, Jayson had expenses that included gas and food. They were offset by donut sales, said to range from $17 to $20 a box. Several news outlets reported a few customers paid almost $100 or over eight dollars per donut. They liked the donuts but loved helping a college student even more. To finish the Business Plan, Income less Expenses Equals Gross Profit. Debt free college appeared to be in reach. Go Jayson Go.

Oh, Oh. News coverage about Enterprising Jayson resulted in a fateful call from a Krispy Kreme regional office. He was told the bulk sale and transport of the donuts created a liability for the company. The terms ‘cease’ and ‘desist’ likely came up in the conversation. Rather than fight it, Gonzalez was said to be looking into new ways to pay for college. In short, the entrepreneurial spirit is an enduring one.

But wait, this story has a happy ending. The corporate-types at Krispy Kreme and Mr. Gonzalez recently announced a partnership to allow for the weekly trips to the Iowa store. Jayson will be become an independent contractor for Krispy Kreme. The corporate-types wanted to ensure their donuts maintained so-called high product quality standards as well as consistent delivery to Jayson’s customers in Minnesota. Sweeter yet, Krispy Kreme will donate 500 dozen donuts to Jayson as he jumps back in to the road trips. That’s 6,000 donuts!

The Little Guy and Big Corporation both come out as winners. Jayson keeps his debt-free college dream alive while Krispy Kreme gained an independent contractor and did not have to fight a public relations battle.

Maybe there’s a St. Croix Valley donut outlet in Jayson’s future? Let’s hope so. Here’s to a rising entrepreneur named Jayson Gonzalez.