April 2022 Unemployment

Trending News

St. Croix County’s April Unemployment Rate is 3.0%

On May 25th, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) announced the preliminary April 2022 unemployment rates for Wisconsin’s 72 counties and the 35 cities with populations greater than 25,000 residents. St. Croix County’s April rate was estimated at 3.0%, which is lower than the final rate of 3.5% for March and February’s final rate of 3.4%. One year ago, the county’s unemployment rate was estimated at 3.8%.

DWD said preliminary unemployment rates from March to April decreased or stayed the same in 63 of the 72 counties. Rates declined in all 72 counties year-over-year. The current rates range from 1.9% in Lafayette to 7.7% in Iron.

Preliminary unemployment rates from March to April decreased or stayed the same in 33 of Wisconsin’s 35 largest cities. Year-over-year the rates declined in all 35 cities. Rates ranged from 1.8% in Fitchburg to 5.0% in Milwaukee.

The five counties with the lowest unemployment rates in April include Lafayette (1.9%), Dane (2.0%), Green (also at 2.0%), Calumet (2.1%), and Fond du Lac (2.3%). Iron County had the highest rate in April at 7.7%, followed by Menominee (7.0%), Bayfield (6.6%), Forest (6.5%), and Burnett (5.8%).

St. Croix, Pierce, and Polk counties comprise Wisconsin’s Greater St. Croix Valley. In addition to St. Croix’s rate of 3.0%, April’s preliminary rate in Pierce was 3.1% and Polk’s rate was 4.5%.

St. Croix and Pierce counties are included in the 15-county Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington MN-WI metro area. The April 2022 unemployment rate for the Twin Cities was estimated at 1.5, which is lower than the final rate of 2.6% for March and February’s final rate of 2.4%. The unemployment rate in the Twin Cities was 4.1% in April 2021.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate for Wisconsin in April was estimated at 2.8%, which is the same as the final rate for March and lower than February’s final rate of 2.9%. One year ago, the state’s seasonally adjusted rate was 4.3%.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate in Minnesota for April was estimated at 2.2%, which is lower than the final rate of 2.5% in March and February’s final rate of 2.7%. Minnesota’s seasonally-adjusted rate one year ago was 3.5%.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate in the U.S. for April was estimated at 3.6%, which is the same as the final rate for March and lower than February’s final rate of 3.8%. One year ago, the U.S. rate (seasonally adjusted) was estimated at 6.0%.

Wisconsin’s preliminary (seasonally adjusted) labor force participation rate for April was estimated at 66.5%, which is the same as the final rate for March but higher than the final rate of 66.4% for February. One year ago, Wisconsin’s labor force participation rate was also 66.7%. The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) labor force participation rate for the U.S. in April was estimated at 62.2%, which is lower than the final rate of 62.4% for March and February’s final rate of 62.3%. One year ago, the labor force participation rate in the U.S. was 61.7%.

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

Total Rewards Strategies

Trending News

Total Rewards Strategies

 Linda Skoglund (l), Managing Partner and Alicia Schwartz (r), Benefits Consultant at JA Counter, an Alera Group Company.

Please join St. Croix EDC on Wednesday, June 8, 2022 starting at 10:00 a.m. for an informative conversation on total rewards strategies with Linda Skoglund, Managing Partner and Alicia Schwartz, Benefits Consultant at JA Counter, an Alera Group Company.


In this one hour conversation, Linda & Alicia will discuss trends regarding benefits, compensation and company culture and how enlightened employers are differentiating themselves from their competitors. 

Program attendees will learn what’s working in organizations that are winning the war on talent relative to compensation, career paths, communication and culture. 

Attend this session to learn what your current and prospective employees are looking for and how you need to think differently about communicating your value proposition.


About Linda Skoglund
Linda is the managing partner of JA Counter, an Alera Group Company. As an insurance and benefits industry leader, she is responsible for the agency’s strategic direction and continued growth. Linda oversees JA Counter’s employee benefit and consulting practice while managing the organization’s vision, direction and client relationships. She has specialized expertise in areas of benefits consulting, regulatory compliance, benefits administration and insurance product design.  She is the lead benefit consultant for large employer groups, specializing in the public sector.

About Alicia Schwartz
As a Registered Employee Benefits Consultant (REBC®), Alicia provides leadership and guidance to employers on benefit selection, total reward strategies, and the implementation and administration of benefits.  Alicia’s goal is to be an extension of an organization, working to strategically plan and develop a world-class total rewards package that meets the needs of the organization and their employees.

St. Croix EDC Hosts Competitive Wisconsin June 7th

Trending News

St. Croix EDC Hosts Competitive Wisconsin June 7th

St. Croix Economic Development Corporation (EDC) will host James Wood of Competitive Wisconsin for a lunch presentation on Tuesday, June 7, 2022 at the at the St. Croix Valley Business Innovation Center, 1091 Sutherland Avenue, River Falls, Wisconsin, from 11:30 a.m. (check-in and networking) to 1:15 p.m. The program begins at promptly at 12:00 p.m.


Wood is the strategic counsel to Competitive Wisconsin. He will present insights to address eight areas of need and opportunity related to the most pressing systemic challenges faced by locally elected officials, employers, and community/regional leaders in recruiting and retaining the workforce in order to: a) support and grow the economy; b) pay for essential public services; and c) secure Wisconsin’s future.

Competitive Wisconsin’s eight key areas include early care and education, broadband access, workforce housing, transportation, energy, health care, rural resurgence, and community quality of life and opportunity.

Attendance is limited to the first 50 individuals and a complimentary lunch will be served. To ensure an accurate meal count, please RSVP HERE through Eventbrite or Nita@StCroixEDC.com by the close of business on Friday, June 3rd.

About Competitive Wisconsin Competitive Wisconsin, Inc. (CWI) is a unique nonpartisan consortium of agriculture, business, education, government and labor leaders in Wisconsin who work together to focus attention on the state’s competitiveness. CWI’s mission is to improve the economic climate of Wisconsin in order to encourage the expansion of existing businesses and enhance the potential of developing and attracting new businesses. Learn more at www.Competitivewi.com.

2022-23 Directors and Officers Elected at Annual Meeting

Trending News

2022-23 Directors and Officers Elected at Annual Meeting

St. Croix Economic Development Corporation (EDC) held its Annual Meeting at Northwood Technical College in New Richmond, Wisconsin on Tuesday, May 10th.  A slate of officers for 2022-2023 and two new board members were elected, along with the re-election of five directors. Three county supervisors also joined the board for the first time in accordance with EDC bylaws.

Aaron Sundeen, Director of Project Development at Derrick Building Solutions, (New Richmond, WI area) was elected Board President. He has served on the board since 2019 and replaces Angela Popenhagen who completed her term as President. She will continue to serve on the board and the executive committee as Past President. 

Krista Paulus, Relationship Manager, Commercial Banking, Security Financial Bank (River Falls, WI branch), was elected First Vice President.

Susan Yohnk Lockwood, Vice President, Institutional Effectiveness and New Richmond Campus Administrator, Northwood Technical College (New Richmond, WI), was elected Second Vice President. 

Marina Onken was elected Corporate Secretary-Treasurer. She retired as Dean of the College of Business and Economics (CBE) at UW-River Falls in late 2021 and is now Professor Emeritus of Strategy and Innovation at CBE.

Aaron Sundeen, Steve Gossel, Susan Yohnk Lockwood, Marina Onken, and Kim Rock were re-elected to the board. Each will serve a final three-year term, ending in May 2025.

Tom Aaby and Tom Loonan were elected to three-year terms on the board. Aaby is Vice President of Business Development with OEM Fabricators (Woodville, WI) and Loonan is an attorney with Eckberg Lammers. He practices civil municipal law and business law. Eckberg Lammers has offices in Hudson, Wisconsin and Stillwater, Minnesota.

Carah Koch, Paul Berning, and Mark Carlson from the county board of supervisors were appointed to the EDC board earlier in the month. 

The board of directors accepted the 2021 financial review from Jason Zahradka, CPA of Guinn, Vinopal & Zahradka, LLP. 

The board honored Popenhagen, Jones, and Kelly at the conclusion of the Annual Meeting.

Congrats 2022 Grads


Congrats 2022 Grads


Time honored graduation traditions will soon play out across Wisconsin’s St. Croix Valley. Some ceremonies already occurred at colleges and universities, and those seem to arrive earlier and earlier. Many will recall when June was a time for grads and dads.

Regardless of the timing, graduation is a significant event – a so-called life event by some. Graduation? Commencement? Are they the same? Well, Google® says Graduation is the completion of all educational requirements; Commencement is the ceremony celebrating the completion of a degree.

Twelve years after entering first grade in the 2010-2011 academic year means a milestone arrived. A scary thought – 75 percent of an 18-year old’s life has revolved around education – starting with pre-kindergarten programming, then kindergarten, elementary, middle school, and finally, high school. Think of the teachers, recesses, lunchrooms, field trips, pop quizzes, finals, and hallway walks between classes. Hopefully the trips to offices bearing the word, Principal, were minimal.

What about graduation traditions? Google® came through again:

Cap: It’s also called a mortarboard, a square, previously having three or four peaks, linked to clergy and academicians. It was originally called a mortarboard because it resembled a mortar board used by bricklayers. At one time, only individuals earning master or doctorate degrees wore the square cap. Today, it’s universally worn by all grads.

Gown: The gown reportedly goes back to twelfth century at universities. With poor heating in the Middle Ages, scholars wore gowns to keep them warm.

Pomp and Circumstance (P&C): This song goes back to the early 1900s, and was modified to celebrate the coronation of King Edward VII. When Edward received an honorary degree from Yale, P&C was played. It quickly became the tune for graduation processionals and/or recessionals.

Diploma: Yes, diplomas were referred to as a sheepskin because they were produced on very thin sheep hides. Parchment paper replaced this practice and then standardized sizes emerged.

Tassel: A tassel has been used for centuries. The tradition of moving it from the right side of the cap to the left side once a diploma is received symbolizes going from a candidate to recipient of a degree.

Cap Toss: The U.S. Naval Academy started the cap throwing tradition in 1912. Previously, grads of the academy needed to keep their hats as part of a two-year assignment as midshipmen. In 1912, Navy grads were immediately commissioned as officers, meaning they received new officer hats. The old hats were thrown into the air after the ceremony and the tradition quickly caught on.

Class of 2022, you’ve completed your graduation requirements and commencement ceremonies await. Remember this – commencement is a beginning, not an ending. A know-it-all may write or say the word ‘commence’ has its origin in Latin. . . blah-blah-blah. Let’s stop right there. Grads at any level have so much more to learn.

Good Luck Class of 2022! Here’s to the next milestone

St. Croix County and EDC Promote National Small Business Week

Trending News

St. Croix County and EDC Promote National Small Business Week

Photo Caption: (l to r) EDC President Angela Popenhagen, County Board Chair Bob Long, and EDC Executive Director Bill Rubin display a proclamation before the start of the May 3rd county board meeting. The proclamation was signed by Popenhagen and Long to recognize May 1-7, 2022 as National Small Business Week for the benefit of business and industry in St. Croix County, Wisconsin. Popenhagen and Long called on county residents to reflect on the importance of the week and help celebrate small business achievements in their respective communities.

About Small Businesses
-There are an estimated 32.5 million small businesses in the U.S., including more than 461,500 in Wisconsin and 2,300 employer establishments in St. Croix County. Estimated employment of employer establishments in St. Croix is 32,280. The number of employer establishments in Pierce County is estimated at 780, which employ 7,100 persons. The number of employer establishments in Polk County is estimated at 1,120, which employ 14,125 persons.

-99.9 percent of all businesses in the U.S. are small businesses

-61.2 million people in the U.S. are employed by small businesses

-46.8 percent of U.S. employees are employed by small businesses

St. Croix Valley Moms


St. Croix Valley Moms


The age old question is here. What to get mom for Mother’s Day? Regardless of the monetary value, moms will likely say, “It’s the thought that counts.”

And it does count, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF), the world’s largest retail trade association. Along with its advocacy for retail, which NRF calls the industry that powers the economy, it forecasts spending habits on eventful days like back-to-school shopping, Black Friday, Valentine’s Day, and yes, Mother’s Day.

Here’s NRF’s jaw dropping estimate – – 2022 Mother’s Day spending in the U.S. is expected to total $31.7 billion (with a “b”). That’s up $3.6 billion from last year’s record amount. For historical purposes, $23.1 billion was spent as recent as 2018, representing an upward hockey stick trend according to professional and wannabe economists.

Hold on, the spending layers are about to be peeled back. Sons and daughters and the young and old plan to spend $25 more on Mother’s Day 2022 than last year, bringing the per person estimate to just over $245. Spendthrifts in 2018 only racked up $180 in per person spending.

NRF says jewelry and special outings like brunch or dinner are leading 2022’s spending increases. Jewelry purchases this year may reach $7 billion dollars. NRF reminds us that jewelry is timeless, and purchases in this category rose from 34 percent of those making purchases in 2021 to 41 percent forecasted this year. Spending for special outings could reach $5.3 billion. The nearly 28 percent increase from last year perhaps signals a post-pandemic return to restaurants and cafes for those seeking more quality time with moms.

Greeting cards are not the most expensive purchase. Moms like the ones that are handmade, but NRF predicts 75 percent of all shoppers will spend just over one billion dollars on cards.

What about the road for consumers that is less traveled? Try the gift of experience. NRF says this could mean a gift that’s unique or different, or finding one that creates a special memory. Does that mean a Grateful Dead concert? Live theater? Paddlewheel excursion? Amateur or professional sports? Sculpture garden? Unique. Special Memories. You get the picture.

The gifting of a product subscription service is a new and growing category for Mother’s Day. It’s a way to extend gifting beyond a special day. NRF cited Birchbox or Stitch Fix as examples. It’s not a crime to look them up. Birchbox is a monthly beauty box and makeup kit service. Stitch Fix is a personalized way to shop for clothing based on size, budget and style. There’s a good bet Stitch Fix relies on algorithms and data science, and, it’s a publicly traded company.

Wisconsin’s St. Croix Valley residents are bound to make Mother’s Day 2022 a very special event. There are plenty of shops along main streets to choose gifts. Restaurants, cafes, and innkeepers stand ready. Don’t forget the walking and cycling paths. And ice cream shops. And garden centers. And, well, you get the picture. “It’s the thought that counts.”