Although five of Wisconsin’s largest cities have experienced a rise in unemployment rates in recent months, Madison continues to have the lowest unemployment rate in the state, according to the Department of Workforce Development.
According to statistics released from the department, Madison had a 2.6 percent unemployment rate for March. An overall rate increase since Sept. 11 culminated in February when Wisconsin’s unemployment rate hit an eleven-year high of 5.8 percent. The state’s rate decreased to 5.7 percent in March, on par with the national rate.
Wisconsin’s manufacturing sector was hardest hit by unemployment, with an estimated 1,500 fewer positions available in March than in previous months.
State labor economist Terry Ludeman told the Associated Press uncertainties about oil prices due to escalated fighting in the Middle East have contributed to the instabilities.
“It’s just that anxiety about what’s going on [with the economy],” Ludeman told the AP.
Ludeman said the state economy typically picks up in April after the winter season ends. He said future unemployment rates would be a better indication of when the manufacturing sector will begin to rebound.
The unemployment rate for the Appleton-Oshkosh market remained unchanged in March, but Racine and Janesville-Beloit had the highest rates at 7.5 and 7.4 percent respectively.
Unemployment rates for March 2002:
Madison: 2.6 percent (lowest in state)
Racine: 7.5 percent (highest in state)
Wisconsin: 5.7 percent
National: 5.7 percent