Jobless rate climbs; benefits extended
The unemployment rate in Douglas County is on the rise, according to the Department of Workforce Development (DWD). But, in a spot of good economic news, unemployment benefits have been extended an additional 13 weeks for Wisconsin workers who ha...
The unemployment rate in Douglas County is on the rise, according to the Department of Workforce Development (DWD). But, in a spot of good economic news, unemployment benefits have been extended an additional 13 weeks for Wisconsin workers who have exhausted their regular state and federal benefits.
In data released Thursday, Douglas County showed an increase in unemployment from 5.7 to 6.4 percent in December, dropping Douglas County to the rank of 34th statewide. In December of 2007, unemployment for the county was 5.0 percent.
Unemployment rates increased in 70 of the 72 Wisconsin counties during the month of December and decreased in two. The two counties showing a decrease were Green Lake, down 0.6 percentage points, and Florence, down 0.3 percentage points. Rusk County, up 1.9 percentage points, and Taylor County, up 1.8 percentage points, recorded the greatest over the month increase in unemployment rate. Dane County, at 3.9 percent, recorded the lowest December rate, while Iron County, at 10.7 percent, recorded the highest rate.
In addition, unemployment rates increased in each of the state's 12 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) in December compared to November.
The increase in state unemployment did bring one spot of good news; it led to extended benefits, according to the DWD.
Wisconsin provides up to 26 weeks of regular benefits with the maximum payment currently at $363. As the national economic crisis grew worse, Congress acted twice last year to allow federal extended benefits. Last summer, Congress authorized up to 13 weeks of federal extended benefits. Last fall, it approved a second round of extended benefits under a two-tier system.
Under the two-tier system, up to seven weeks of additional benefits were allowed in Wisconsin and other states. For those states with an unemployment rate of 4 percent among workers covered by unemployment insurance, up to 13 weeks of additional benefits were allowed. Wisconsin now has qualified for this second tier of eligible benefits.
All individuals eligible for the additional benefits will receive a notice from the DWD by mail, including those who may have exhausted their benefits up to this time.
DWD officials encouraged those on unemployment to continue to file their weekly claim if they are currently doing so.