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WI Unemployment Rate Declines for 9th Straight Month, Down to 5.8%

Targeted News Service

MADISON, Wis., May 15 -- The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development issued the following news release:

The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) today released the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) unemployment and employment estimates showing Wisconsin's preliminary unemployment rate dropped to 5.8 percent in April 2014 from 5.9 percent in March (seasonally adjusted), and the state gained an estimated 7,600 private-sector jobs over the month.

Also today, DWD released the latest available Wisconsin actual job counts based on reports from nearly 160,000 Wisconsin employers. The data covering the fourth quarter of 2013 show Wisconsin added 28,006 private-sector jobs during the 12-month period ending in December 2013, and private-sector wages increased by 2.2% during the fourth quarter of 2013 compared to the same quarter in 2012.

Monthly Estimates: Lowest Unemployment Rate Since 2008; State adds 7,600 Private-Sector Jobs

The BLS publishes monthly estimates to measure employment and unemployment:

* Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS): compiled from a monthly survey of 1,450 households. Measures the labor force, employment, unemployment, and the unemployment rate.

Wisconsin's preliminary April 2014 unemployment rate of 5.8 percent is the state's lowest monthly rate since October 2008, down from a high point of 9.2 percent in 2010, and below the national unemployment rate of 6.3 percent. Wisconsin's unemployment rate has dropped for nine consecutive months.

* Current Employment Statistics (CES): compiled from a monthly survey sent to about 5,500 employers (3.5% of Wisconsin employers). CES data has been shown to be subject to substantial revision.

The preliminary April 2014 employment estimates show Wisconsin gained 7,600 private-sector jobs, including 3,100 retail jobs. The month over month increase in total nonfarm jobs was 8,000.

Quarterly Job Counts: State adds over 28,000 private-sector jobs in 2013

In addition to the monthly estimates, the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW) is compiled based on Unemployment Insurance records from some 96% of Wisconsin business establishments. Considered by most economists to be the most accurate measure of jobs, the QCEW includes data from almost all employers in Wisconsin but isn't published by BLS until several months after the quarter ends.

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This week, Wisconsin submitted its data to BLS covering the fourth quarter of 2013. The BLS will incorporate the data in its next QCEW release scheduled for June 19. Information about the QCEW, including data for the first three quarters of 2013, can be accessed through the BLS website at http://bls.gov/cew/.

Highlights from the latest job counts, when compared to BLS published data for 2012, include:

* Wisconsin added 28,006 private-sector jobs from December 2012 to December 2013.

* Professional and business services saw a 3.8% increase jobs, or a gain of 11,215 jobs. This category includes temporary employment agencies, which other industries such as manufacturing and information use as a labor management resource to fill openings.

* Wages by covered private-sector employers grew by 2.2% year over year.

Highlights of actual jobs data for calendar years 2011, 2012 and 2013, when combined with monthly estimates through April 2014, include:

* Wisconsin added over 101,000 private sector jobs since December 2010, following the loss of about 133,000 private sector jobs during the previous four years.

* The private sector job gains under Governor Walker from December 2010 through December 2013 are the highest three-year gains under any Governor since 2000.

* Wisconsin posted a 2.2 percent gain in private sector wages in during the fourth quarter of 2013 when compared to the same quarter in 2012.

DWD Secretary Newson issued the following statement on the latest quarterly data: "After losing 133,000 private sector jobs during the four years before Governor Walker took office, the latest data shows Wisconsin gained over 101,000 private sector jobs under his leadership through April 2014," Secretary Newson said. "And while friends and neighbors throughout Wisconsin are going back to work thanks to our improving economy, there is much more work to be done to ensure everyone who wants a job can find a job."

Other indicators that help illustrate the state of Wisconsin's economy include:

* Department of Financial Institutions new business formation: up 6.8 percent through April compared to the same period in 2013.

* Initial weekly Unemployment Insurance (UI) claims for the first 18 weeks of 2014 dropped to the lowest point since 2000, and the annual average weekly UI claims are at a 13-year low.

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* Personal income grew faster than the U.S. in 2013 and our per capita personal income growth was 7th in the nation, ahead of Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio.

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