Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Unemployment down before attacks, unsure now

Before the Sept. 11 attack on America, numbers released Wednesday by the Department of Workforce Development indicate unemployment in Wisconsin was on the decline.

Unemployment was down from 4.0 percent in August to 3.4 percent in September. Ten of the state’s 11 largest metropolitan areas, including Madison, saw a decrease in unemployment.

Wisconsin’s unemployment rate is also substantially lower than the national rate, which is currently at 4.7 percent.

However, those statistics were taken during the week of the Sept. 11 attack, making it unclear what has happened to the state’s economy since then.

Chris Marschman, a spokesperson for the DWD, said it is difficult to know the exact impact of the terrorist attack on employment in Wisconsin.

“The numbers seem to indicate that prior to Sept. 11, we were seeing a positive movement towards recovery,” Marschman said.

While statistics for next month are expected to reveal an increase in unemployment, Marschman said the Sept. 11 attack should have less of an effect on Wisconsin than other states.

“Wisconsin is not a huge airline state, so we probably won’t be impacted as significantly as in other states with a major airline hub,” Marschman said.

Although September numbers showed an overall decline in unemployment statewide, the manufacturing industry continued to face difficulties, showing a decrease of about 6,100 employees.

UW business professor Richard Green said because Wisconsin’s economy is among the most heavily reliant on manufacturing nationwide, Wisconsin will continue to feel the immediate impact of any turn in the economy.

“Typically during a national slowdown Wisconsin is one of the first states to be affected because of its manufacturing,” Green said. “So when a recovery starts to occur, manufacturing starts to pick up, so we’re usually one of the first states to get out of it.”

UW economics professor Don Nichols said orders for durable goods are declining of late, which indicate there could potentially be future shortcomings for manufacturing in Wisconsin.

Despite the negative effects of the attack, Nichols said the event has not been as detrimental to the national economy as originally anticipated and in the long run, the economy should recover.

“The non-economic, standard news media has portrayed this as being disastrous to the economy,” Nichols said. “The question is what will happen when [the impact of the Sept. 11 attack] is a lot less terrible than what the public is prepared for.”

Unemployment in Dane County continued to be the lowest in the state, at 1.6 percent.

“[Dane County] has been among the lowest in the country for the last ten years now because it relies heavily on government jobs, education, and health, which are not going to be as affected as other areas of the economy,” Green said.

Green said graduates entering the job market within the next several months should expect to face stiffer competition.

“It’s not going to be like it has been the last few years, with the tighter market,” Green said.

However, Marschman said over the next couple decades the job market looks very promising for college graduates.

“There are still a lot of jobs out there; we’re still dealing with a labor shortage with the baby boomers retiring,” Marschman said. “The real concern over the long term is how do we get people in Wisconsin to stay, and how do we attract new people into Wisconsin.”

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