Thursday, March 18, 2010

How's That Hope and Change Going

From the Shawano Leader
"Shawano County jobless rate at high point
By Kent Tempus, Leader editor

Even as signs of economic recovery begin to flicker, new unemployment figures show the stark reality in the Wolf River region: Even more people are out of work.

Shawano County recorded its highest unemployment rate in January in at least two decades, according to Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development data.

The jobless rate here increased to 11.2 percent, up from 9.9 percent in December 2009, DWD reported Wednesday.

It was the highest rate since 10.4 percent was recorded in March 2009. Before the current recession, the highest rate since January 1990 was 9 percent in March 1992, a review of DWD labor market data found.

“In my own neighborhood, there’s a lot of unemployed people around us,” Shawano city administrator Jim Stadler said. “Probably just about every family in the Shawano area has been affected. It certainly is disheartening.”

Steve Sengstock, director of Shawano County Economic Progress Inc., attributed the jump in Shawano County’s rate to two things, but primarily the shut down of Owens Inc.’s two plants in Shawano.

“I think what you’re seeing is some catching up related to what’s happening with the Owens closure,” Sengstock said. “That’s 150 people in that period. I think we’re also seeing the impacts of the strategic cuts of companies around the area. There’s a lot of companies taking five or six people here, and five or six people there, and it has an impact from the end of the year.”

Other area counties also saw hefty increases in unemployment in January:

— Waupaca County hit 10.6 percent, the second highest rate in the past year behind March 2009, when joblessness was 11.8 percent. The rate in December 2009 was 9.2 percent.

— Oconto County jumped to 12.1 percent, up from 10.5 percent in December. That’s the fourth highest rate in the past year, when the jobless rate peaked at 13.6 percent in March 2009.

— Menominee County rose to 13.6 percent, up for 12.2 percent in December. Unemployment there — normally the highest in the state — was between 15.5 percent and 18.1 percent over June, July and August of 2009.

Statewide, unemployment for January was 9.6 percent in January, up from 8.3 percent the previous month. In January 2009, the rate was 7.7 percent."

Sure glad Diamond Jim Doyle and the democrats in Madison are doing so well for all of us.

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