DWD official optimistic over economy, job marketWisconsin's unemployment rate held steady in February. Still, the numbers show more people are finding work.
By: Patty Murray, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
Wisconsin's unemployment rate held steady in February. Still, the numbers show more people are finding work. And the state's top official at the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) says Wisconsin's economy is poised for a rebound.
Wisconsin's preliminary unemployment rate for February is a seasonally adjusted 7.4-percent, the same as it was in January.
But -- compared to the same time last year -- the rate has fallen by nearly 2-percent.
Wisconsin's DWD Secretary, Manuel Perez, says it’s the very beginning of an economic upturn.
Overall, employment rose last month by 5,200 jobs. Perez says 3,600 of those jobs were in the private sector. He says the manufacturing sector shows the most growth.
However, Perez says Wisconsin is still suffering the effects of a recession that many economists say began at the end of 2007. The state has 145,000 fewer jobs now than it did back then.
DWD Secretary Perez says some people may have used up their extended unemployment benefits. and that now is the time for people to scour the state Job Center's website where 26,000 listings are posted.
"And we are concerned that individuals that sit too long on the fence collecting unemployment will find themselves at a disadvantage because of other people have come back to the labor market faster than they are."
According to the newly-released statistics, the private sector added 26,500 jobs in the last year. Government agencies -- federal, state, and local -- collectively lost 1200 jobs.