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Unemployment rates decline throughout area

On June 22 Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Secretary Scott Baumbach announced the preliminary May unemployment rates for Wisconsin's 72 counties.

Pierce County's rate was estimated at 5.6% compared to its April rate of 6.5% and its March rate of 7%. A year ago Pierce County's unemployment rate was 6.3%.

St. Croix's rate was estimated at 5.7% compared to the April rate of 6.6% and March's rate of 7.5%. A year ago, the St. Croix's unemployment rate was 7.1%.

DWD said 49 of the state's 72 counties had lower unemployment rates in May compared to April.

Both Pierce and St. Croix counties rank in the six Wisconsin counties with the lowest unemployment rates. Dane County recorded the lowest rate at 5.1% (up from 4.9% in April), followed by Pepin at 5.6%, Pierce at 5.6%, Buffalo at 5.7%, La Crosse at 5.7% and St. Croix also at 5.7%.

Menominee County had the highest rate in May at 18.1% (up from16.8%), followed by Iron at 10.9%, Rusk at 10.6%, and Vilas at 10.2%.

The falling unemployment rate reflects a growing economy, said William Rubin, executive director of St. Croix Economic Development Corporation. He said St. Croix's rate is lower than the May unemployment rate of 6.3% for the 13-county metro area.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate for Wisconsin in May was estimated at 7.4%, which is up slightly from April's rate of than the 7.3% rate. May's rate for the state is the same as the rate reported for January through March. The state's seasonally adjusted rate was 8.5% one year ago.

The preliminary unemployment rate in the U.S. in May was estimated at 9.1%, up slightly from April's rate of 9.0% and up slightly more than the March rate of 8.8%. One year ago the U.S. rate was estimated at 9.6%.

May's estimates are preliminary and are subject to revision within the next few weeks.