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Is The State Nearing Full Employment?


The latest state unemployment numbers show only three of Wisconsin's counties to be above 4 percent unemployment. Economists often point to four percent unemployment as statistically near full employment.

Menominee county has the state's highest rate at 4.8 percent, followed by Iron county at 4.4 and Forest county at 4.1 percent.

68  Wisconsin counties now are below four percent unemployment.

State labor economist Mitchell Rupp in Wausau says the numbers reflect the needs of businesses....

"..it may be likely due to the fact there's a labor force shortage where everyone is hiring and looking for workers. Part of the reason the unemployment rate continues to decrease is because a lot of businesses are looking for workers. Overall, in general, wages are increasing just to get people to come in and work for those businesses....."

Elsewhere in the Northwoods in October, Langlade and Vilas county's rate are 3.2 percent, Price and Oneida are at 2.9 percent, and Lincoln at 2.7 percent. All of those rates are at or more than one percentage point lower than October of 2016.

The largest over the year decline was 1.8 percent in Iron county.

Rupp says a new website called "Wisconomy" is available on smartphones. The website gives state labor and economic information. It's available through the jobcenterofwisconsin.com site.

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