Initial unemployment claims drop to the lowest number since 1995

By Katherine Michalets - Freeman Staff

April 28, 2015

MADISON — Continued good news about the state of the economy rolled in Thursday with the latest report on unemployment in Wisconsin, which showed that the rate was 4.6 percent in May and was considerably lower than the national average.

According to the report from the Department of Workforce Development based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national unemployment rate of 5.5 percent for May. In May of 2014, Wisconsin’s unemployment rate was also 5.5 percent.

Wisconsin’s total employment grew by 31,900 year-over-year while the number of unemployed declined by a significant 27,800, according to the report. Additionally, the state’s labor force participation rate of 67.9 percent in May outpaced the national rate of 62.9 percent.

So far, 2015 is off to a great start for the state. According to Thursday’s report, average Initial Unemployment Insurance claims for the first 24 weeks of 2015 dropped to the lowest point since 1995, and the annual average weekly continued UI claims are at their lowest levels since 2000.

“As employment estimates often show variation from month to month, one constant is the challenge employers face in finding qualified workers to fill openings,” DWD Secretary Reggie Newson said in a statement. “We will continue to advance strategies that provide a robust pool of talent and help employers meet their skills requirements.”

Also, Wisconsin was one of 15 states with a below-average unemployment rate in April and above-average income growth 2014 using per-capita disposable income, according to the Wisconsin Department of Revenue.