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U.S.-Wisconsin Unemployment Rate Differential at Largest Mark in 17 Years

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Not since 1993 has Wisconsin's jobless rate been 2.2 points lower than that of the nation overall

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development announced on Thursday that the Badger State's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 7.6 percent in November - down 0.2 points from the previous month.

That is the lowest mark for Wisconsin in nearly two years, when unemployment was 7.1 percent in January 2009 (in the midst of a period of 13 consecutive months of rising rates from May 2008 through May 2009).

Unemployment in Wisconsin has now fallen 12.6 percent in 2010, or 1.1 points, from 8.7 percent in January of this year.

The national rate has been largely steady in 2010, but is up 0.1 points overall, from 9.7 percent in January to 9.8 percent in November.

The unemployment dip in November has now created a -2.2-point difference in Wisconsin's employment situation vis-à-vis the national average, which is the largest such gap in more than 17 years.

The Badger State has not seen a -2.2-point or greater differential against the national average since October 1993, when the unemployment rate was 4.5 percent in Wisconsin and 6.8 percent nationally.

Wisconsin is currently in the midst of a 38-month stretch dating back to October 2007 in which its jobless rate has been lower than that of the U.S.

Overall, since 1976, Wisconsin's unemployment rate has been lower than that of the nation as a whole for 341 of the past 419 months, or 81.4 percent of the time.

Wisconsin has had a higher rate for 56 months (13.4 percent) during this span and the same rate as the nation for 22 months (5.3 percent).

The biggest gap in Wisconsin's favor against the national average since 1976 is -2.6 points - achieved three times in January, April, and May of 1993.

The biggest gap to Wisconsin's detriment over these 34 years is +1.5 points, when, in August 1980, the national unemployment rate was 7.7 percent while Wisconsin's was 9.2 percent.

With Minnesota's jobless rate staying steady at 7.1 percent in November, Wisconsin has closed the gap on its neighbor to the west to 0.5 points - the closest it has been to matching the Gopher State's unemployment rate since June 2009.

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73 Months and Counting

January's preliminary Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show Minnesota's unemployment rate of 3.7 percent was once again lower than Wisconsin's 5.0 percent. That marks the 73rd consecutive month in which Minnesota has boasted a lower jobless rate than its neighbor to the east dating back to January 2009 including each of the last 67 months by at least one point. The Gopher State has now edged Wisconsin in the employment border battle for 204 of the last 216 months dating back to February 1997. Wisconsin only managed a lower unemployment rate than Minnesota for the 12 months of 2008 during this 18-year span.


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