City of West Bend’s unemployment number shrinking

By DAVE RANK - Daily News

July 12, 2014

WEST BEND - Unemployment figures are going down in West Bend.

In May, the latest data available, West Bend’s unemployment rate shrank to 7 percent, according to the state’s Department of Workforce Development numbers for the largest 32 municipalities in Wisconsin.

The DWD figures are based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ estimates.

May was the first time West Bend has seen a 7 percent unemployment rate in nearly six years.

“November 2008 was the last time it was that low,” Mayor Kraig Sadownikow said Friday. “We’ve been consistently trending down.”

West Bend had an 11.8 unemployment rate in February, which dropped to 8.2 percent in December 2012, and bounced to 8.5 percent this past March.

“It’s down 30 percent since January 2011,” Alderman Ed Duquaine said. “It’s taking a lot of hard work to lower that number.”

Local businesses are showing more confidence in the economy and starting to hire more workers, Sadownikow said.

West Bend is 29th in size on that list of 32 municipalities, the mayor pointed out.

“We’re certainly looking at a good trend,” Sadownikow said. He considers it an indication that the city’s efforts to improve West Bend’s reputation as a business-friendly community is working.

Washington County had a 5.9 percent unemployment rate in May, according to the DWD. The Milwaukee Metropolitan Area, which includes Washington County, had a May unemployment rate of 6.1 percent. The state’s unemployment rate was 5.7 percent, it’s lowest since October 2008, the DWD reported.

The DWD reported that May unemployment rates for the 32 largest municipalities ranged from 3.2 percent in Caledonia, Racine County, to 9.7 percent in Racine.

West Bend had the ninth highest unemployment rate in May among the municipalities. Washington County was 47th highest among the state’s 72 counties.