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Low unemployment makes workers harder to find

Help wanted sign
Rogelio V. Solis
Help wanted sign

The Wausau area saw a 1.9% unemployment rate as of December of 2022.

That's according to the Department of Workforce Development.

While this might look good for employers, the downside is the number of available jobs and the need for more employees is ever rising, and area manufacturers are being impacted.

"There is definitely continuous growth with our company, we are still seeing that there is a shortage of people like every other industry around here and just definitely continuing looking for people as best we can," said Melissa Sommer, with B&D Fabrications in Edgar.

And it's not a problem experts said will be going away anytime soon.

According to the DWD, abut 70% of Wausau's labor force is employed, add to that a growing economy, and employers are struggling to attract new workforce.

"Throughout the country, we simply do not have enough people in the labor force," said Dave Eckmann, President and CEO of the Greater Wausau Chamber of Commerce.

So, how can this be fixed?

It starts with creating a community to attract young workers to the area, much like the goal of the Foundry on 3rd project in downtown Wausau.

Then helping people to gain and develop skills they need.

"The other part is is really to help people who might be under-skilled or not in the labor force participating and get them the skills and training that they need to enter the workforce and then grow with our companies," said Eckmann.

Over the last year, 22 Wisconsin cities had unemployment rates decrease or stay the same, and they're hoping to keep those numbers low for the future.

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