Unemployment rate drops in Rock County
FOR MORE INFORMATION
For an explanation and chart on unemployment benefits in Wisconsin, go online to gazettextra.com/unemployment.
JANESVILLE Rock County unemployment dropped slightly in July, but the jobs picture still looks sluggish.
Unemployment in the Janesville-Beloit area was 10.4 percent in July, down from 10.9 percent in June, according to the Department of Workforce Development. That’s a drop of 3.8 percent from the same time last year, the biggest out of the 12 metro areas surveyed.
Unemployment numbers are calculated for each Wisconsin county and the 12 largest Metropolitan Statistical Areas. The Janesville statistical area includes Beloit and most of Rock County.
Beloit still had the state’s highest jobless rate at 15.9 percent, down 0.8 percent from 16.7 percent in June. Janesville posted an unemployment rate of 10.8 percent, dropping 0.3 percent from June.
Overall, the state lost 12,600 jobs in July. The Janesville region lost 500 jobs but has 400 more jobs than the same time last year.
All metropolitan areas had their unemployment decrease, although La Crosse, Racine and Milwaukee each saw their city-specific rates increase.
Madison’s metro area had the lowest unemployment rate at 5.6 percent.
State unemployment was 7.8 percent, down 0.3 percent from June.
Because of an overall improvement in Wisconsin’s jobless rate, the maximum number of weeks an individual can collect unemployment benefits has decreased from 99 to 93.
The state’s recent dip below 8.5 percent means Wisconsin is no longer eligible for Tier 4 of federal benefits, which added six weeks of benefits. Individuals who exhaust their Tier 3 payments after Aug. 14 will not be able to receive Tier 4 benefits.
For the most part, former workers at the General Motors assembly plant in Janesville are no longer receiving state and federal unemployment benefits. That’s because they have either retired or transferred voluntarily to other GM plants.
With the exception of some skilled trades positions, GM essentially exhausted its local workforce earlier this year when it forced remaining workers on layoff to either transfer to a plant in Ohio or leave the company.
Some workers at GM suppliers Lear and LSI, however, still are collecting benefits. They are among the group of more than 500 workers who were laid off when the GM plant closed in December 2008. If still unemployed, their 93 weeks of unemployment likely will end in October.
If still unemployed, benefits already have ended for another 468 Lear and LSI workers laid off when GM ended second-shift production in July 2008.