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Unemployment rates shoot up across region

There were significant increases in almost all counties in the far western region of Wisconsin in December.

Figures released by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development show that the unemployment rate in Wisconsin for December was 5.8 percent, below the national rate of 7.1 percent.

In the region, the rate in Polk County was the highest at 7.3 percent, which was up from 6 percent in November.

However, in St. Croix County the December rate was at 5.7 percent, up from 4.9 percent the previous month.

The rate in Pierce County was a little lower at 5.5 percent, up from 4.2 percent in November.

The Pepin County rate was also at 5.5 percent, which was almost a full-points increase from November's rate of 4.2 percent.

The rate in Dunn County jumped a full point to 4.9 percent while in Chippewa County the rate was up 1.2 percent to 6.8 percent. Eau Claire County had a rate of just 4.7 percent in December.

DWD officials say that it is typical for unemployment rates to increase during the winter months, however this year the negative economy is also having an impact.

"The global economic crisis and prolonged national recession continue to impact Wisconsin's communities and hardworking families," said Roberta Gassman, secretary of DWD.

DWD officials reported that from November to December there was a decline of 62,600 non-farm jobs in the state.

The manufacturing sector lost 26,500 jobs, while the professional and business services sector lost 14,200 jobs. Meanwhile the educational and health services sector added 5,900 jobs.