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?
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