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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Lake County Unemployment 6.0%; Jobs at 11-Year Low

Seth Tupper reminds me that South Dakota's unemployment numbers for January are out today. The news isn't good for Lake County. After a couple months of decline, we started 2010 with an increase in unemployment, from 5.5% to 6.0%. That's still better than 7 out of 12 months last year.

But consider this shocking number: in January, there were 6050 jobs in Lake County. According to Department of Labor data, the last time there were fewer jobs than this was December 1999. Our workforce, currently 6440, hasn't been this small since January 2001.

The LAIC, our local economic development corporation, intended to create 400 new jobs by the end of 2011. Short of a miracle (or Rod's call mega-center), that point is now likely moot. To meet that goal, the Forward Madison program would now have to create 1045 jobs in less than two years.

Things are tough all over: every neighboring county except Miner saw unemployment rise half a percent or more in January. Even our friends in Brookings saw their unemployment jump over 4% for the first time since the 1990 recession. Miner managed to hold steady at 5.6%. Overall, there are 25 counties with unemployment worse than Lake's.

The statewide unemployment rate is back at 5.5%, tying the record set last March for the highest rate in the two decades of unemployment data the Department of Labor makes available online.

Anyone ready to turn that stimulus spigot on a little wider?


  1. Cori,
    Just a question. Do you read any newspapers published in Europe or Asia?
    Joseph G Thompson

  2. Sorry posted on wrong blog entry
    Joseph G Thompson

  3. And yet the city wants to make sure that this 6% still has to come through and maintain their sidewalks......

    Although I'm not against people having to maintain their property, it just that something like this could wait a couple more years before being implemented.

  4. J.Johnson,
    I agree with you completely.

    I have been looking at the history of Works Progress Administration and Public Works Administration projects in Madison in the 1930's.

    The only reason that there are so many sidewalks is because WPA and PWA installed them. If you walk much in Madison you will see WPA
    markers on a lot of sidewalks.

    Maybe the city should have looked at Federal economic recovery funds.

    In 1933 when Lake County was considering build a new courthouse or paying relief to the unemployed the editor of the Madison daily, in an editorial said that it made no sense just to pay people to stay at home because society didn't benefit, but if they built new courthouse then both society and the unemployed, who would become employed, would benefit.

    Maybe the city could use some of our surplus funds,already taxpayers money, hire a crew to lay sidewalks and reduce unemployment.

    Everyone wins, just as they did in 1933 and 1934. Just a thought and I already know what city governments response would be.

    Joseph G Thompson

  5. Joe! Officer thinking! A local WPA would be a great idea: pay local people to do work that will benefit everyone in the community. Maybe we should axe the depot renovation and divert the funds to pay a hundred workers to lay sidewalk for a month.


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