Eau Claire metro's jobless rate rises to 4%

·2 min read

Jul. 22—EAU CLAIRE — The unemployment rate in the Eau Claire metropolitan area rose in June after falling nearly the same amount the previous month.

The latest increase — from 3.4% in May to 4% in June — was about average for Wisconsin's 12 metro areas last month, according to unadjusted data released Wednesday by the state Department of Workforce Development.

The jobless rate rose between 0.4 and 0.7 percentage points in all 12 metro areas in what DWD economist Scott Hodek characterized as normal seasonal fluctuation.

"Every June we see rates jump a little, as schools let out and the jobs market takes a little time to absorb the students joining the labor force," Hodek said. "Then it starts dropping again in July as they're hired, continuing to a usual yearly seasonal low in September or October."

That left the unadjusted jobless rate in the Eau Claire metro area, composed of Eau Claire and Chippewa counties, a half percentage point below the 4.5% registered statewide. The seasonally adjusted state rate was 3.9% in June.

The June unemployment rate in the Eau Claire metro area was down 4.2 percentage points from 8.2% in the same month of 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic was still having a major impact on the labor market.

Total employment in the Eau Claire metro area dipped by 100 from May to June, when the total hit 85,600, and was up 5,100 from June 2020, according to the DWD estimates.

The June unemployment rate in the city of Eau Claire was 4%, compared with 3.3% in May and 8.4% in June 2020. The June rate ranked eighth-lowest among the state's 34 largest cities. The rate rose from May in all of those cities.

The DWD report indicated that June unemployment rates rose in 70 of Wisconsin's 72 counties over the month.

Rates in west-central Wisconsin counties were: Barron 4.1%, Buffalo 4.4%, Chippewa 4.1%, Clark 3.4%, Dunn 4.1%, Eau Claire 4%, Jackson 5.5%, Pepin 3.5%, Pierce 3.9%, Rusk 4.7%, St. Croix 3.8% and Trempealeau 4%.

Clark County was tied with Green County for the fifth-lowest mark, while Pepin County was in a three-way tie for the seventh-lowest rate.

Jackson County was tied with Sawyer County for the state's 10th-highest jobless rate.

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