Month 10 of COVID-19 saw Polk County’s January Unemployment Rate at 5.8%.

Late March the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) announced the preliminary January 2021 unemployment rates for Wisconsin’s 72 counties and the 34 cities with populations greater than 25,000 residents. Polk County’s January rate was estimated at 5.8%, which is between the final rates for December (7.3%) and November (5.2%). One year ago, the County’s unemployment rate was estimated at 6.5%.

Polk County is in the minority as the DWD said preliminary unemployment rates from December to January increased in 68 of the 72 counties as well as year-over-year. The rates ranged from 3.2% in Calumet County to 8.3% in Menominee County.

Preliminary unemployment rates declined or stayed the same in three of Wisconsin’s 34 largest municipalities from December to January. Rates ranged from 3.2% in Madison to 7.1% in Racine.

The five counties with the lowest unemployment rates in January include Calumet (3.2%), Lafayette (3.3%), Dane (3.4%), Marathon (3.5%) and Sheboygan (also at 3.5%). Menominee County had the highest rate in January at 8.3%, followed by Forest (8.2%), Adams (8.1%), Bayfield (also at 8.0%) and Iron (7.8%).

Polk, Pierce, St. Croix and Dunn counties comprise Wisconsin’s Greater St. Croix Valley. In addition to Polk’s 5.8%, St. Croix had a rate of 4.4%, January’s preliminary rate in Pierce is also 4.4%, while Dunn reported 4.5%.

St. Croix and Pierce counties are included in the 15-county Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington MN-WI metro area. The January 2021 unemployment rate for the Twin Cities was estimated at 4.8%, which is higher than December’s final rate of 4.5% and November’s final rate of 4.0%. The unemployment rate in the Twin Cities was 3.1% in January 2020.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate for Wisconsin in January was estimated at 3.8%, lower than December’s final rate of 4.0% and November’s final rate of 5.3%. One year ago, the state’s seasonally adjusted rate was 3.3%.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate in Minnesota in January was estimated at 4.5%, which is lower than December’s final rate of 4.7% and November’s final rate of 5.0%. Minnesota’s seasonally-adjusted rate one year ago was 3.2%.

The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) unemployment rate in the U.S. for January was estimated at 6.3%, which is lower than the final rate of 6.7% for both December and November. One year ago, the U.S. rate (seasonally adjusted) was estimated at 3.5%.

Wisconsin’s preliminary (seasonally adjusted) labor force participation rate for January was 65.5%, which is the same as December’s final rate, but lower than November’s final rate of 66.8%. One year ago, Wisconsin’s labor force participation rate was 66.4%. The preliminary (seasonally adjusted) labor force participation rate for the U.S. in January was estimated at 61.4%, which is lower than the final rate of 61.5% for both December and November. One year ago, the labor force participation rate in the U.S. was 63.4%.

January’s estimates are preliminary and are subject to revision.

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