Job loss drops most since '04
With the Janesville area leading the decline, Wisconsin job losses continued in September as each of the state's metropolitan areas lost jobs compared to 12 months earlier.
The state Department of Workforce Development reported Wednesday the Janesville area had 2,100 fewer jobs than in September 2007, a 2.9 percent slide.
Overall, the state lost 24,300 jobs between September 2007 and last month, a drop of less than 1 percent.
The Janesville-area unemployment rate, which measures the degree to which residents actively seeking jobs can't find work, slipped to 6.4 percent from its 5 percent mark of September 2007.
Of Wisconsin's 12 metropolitan areas, Janesville led four others in posting higher unemployment rates. Three areas' rates were unchanged, while three others dropped.
Janesville's unemployment rate of 6.4 percent was the highest for a September since 7.8 percent was recorded in 1992.
In the last year, the Janesville area has lost 2,100 jobs employing 3 percent of its work force, and more reductions are scheduled.
Earlier this year, a production cut at the General Motors assembly plant in Janesville resulted in the layoffs of more than 1,300 autoworkers and employees at supplier companies.
The GM plant is scheduled to end production in December, which is expected to cause the layoffs of more than 1,800 additional workers.
Officials have planned for the landslide of job cuts associated with the GM shutdown, said Bob Borremans, executive director of the Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board. Although the news has been bad, Borremans said, a sense of certainty surrounding GM's future allows workers and employers to make plans now.
So far, three companies with 300 combined job prospects are considering moving into the Janesville area, Borremans said.
"While it looks really, really bleak right now, there will be new opportunities," Borremans said. "You know, we're not the only ones to have gone through this. As you look at Kenosha and other areas, we will rebound over time. And we'll probably be better for it because we will have diversified."