City of Waukesha closing gap with county on unemployment rate

By Matt Masterson - Freeman Staff

April 24, 2015

 2014 vs. 2015 March unemployment rates 
Source: Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development

WAUKESHA - Unemployment numbers remained largely the same over the last two months in Waukesha County, despite a slight drop in the state rankings, while the city of Waukesha now has one of the 10 lowest rates among Wisconsin’s 32 largest cities.

According to a new report from the state Department of Workforce Development, Waukesha County’s jobless rate remained at 4.4 percent from February into March. It now has the seventh lowest rate among Wisconsin’s 72 counties, down from its third-place finish in February.

Overall, the county’s unemployment rate has fallen nearly a full point from the same time a year ago, when it was 5.3 percent.

Meanwhile, in the city of Waukesha, the unemployment rate dropped from 4.7 percent in February to 4.5 in March, which means it now has the tenth lowest rate among the state’s largest cities.

The city, which placed eleventh in last month’s rankings, has an unemployment rate one full point below where it stood at this time in 2014, when it was at 5.5 percent.

A trio of other cities also saw drops in their jobless rates over the last month: Brookfield fell from 4 percent to 3.9 percent; Menomonee Falls decreased from 4.2 to 4 percent; and New Berlin dropped from 4.6 percent down to 4.5 percent.

The release of the March 2015 local rates follows last week’s release of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly estimates, which showed Wisconsin’s preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the month had dropped to 4.6 percent - its lowest point since June 2008 and lower than the national average of 5.5 percent in March.

The state’s labor force participation rate of 68.4 percent outpaced the national rate of 62.7 percent by 5.7 percentage points. That margin was 5.8 percentage points in February 2015. These recent margins are the strongest they have been when compared to the nation since 2004.