Economic Indicators


Unemployment Rates Wisc Minn

  • For years, economists felt that 5% unemployment represented “full employment” because there are always people who are out of work as they change employers or career paths.  They referred to this as “frictional unemployment.” 
  • Unemployment in 2019 was well below this level of frictional unemployment in all but one jurisdiction.
  • Clearly, Burnett County had a more challenging employment picture than the other jurisdictions.

Unemployment Wisc

  • Peak unemployment in Wisconsin in 2010 8.7% was similar to the national average, but was much worse in Polk and Burnett counties and substantially better in Pierce and St. Croix counties.
  • Unemployment fell for all jurisdictions between 2010 and 2018 and all experienced a slight uptick in unemployment in 2019.
  • Unemployment in Pierce and St. Croix counties has been similar to the state of Wisconsin as a whole since about 2016. 
  • Unemployment in Polk and Burnett counties are consistently higher than Wisconsin throughout the 2007 to 2019 period.

Unemeployment Minnesota

  • Compared to the U.S. as a whole, Minnesota fared somewhat better during the Great Recession with unemployment topping out at 8% (vs. 9% at the national level).
  • Chisago County fared worse in the Great Recession, reaching a peak of 10.3% in 2009 and, though the rate fell dramatically (to 3.4% in 2018), it has remained slightly above the state rate throughout these years.
  • Washington County’s experience with unemployment matches Minnesota’s experience, but has been slightly lower throughout these years.

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