Unemployment rate up slightly locally
JANESVILLE — Rock County's unemployment rate increased slightly in December, but the overall rate for the year was the best since the Great Recession.
The December rate of 8 percent closed the book on a year that had average unemployment of 8.6 percent, according to figures released Wednesday by the state's Department of Workforce Development.
November's local unemployment rate was 7.7 percent.
All but two of Wisconsin's 72 counties experienced an increase in unemployment rates from November to December.
Of 32 Wisconsin cities with populations of more than 25,000, 25 had rate increases. This includes Janesville and Beloit, which jumped from 8.3 percent to 8.6 percent and 10 percent to 10.4 percent, respectively.
Rock County's unemployment rate hit a 20-year high in 2009 when 12.8 percent of people looking for work were unemployed. That was the year in which the recession was in full swing, and the local economy was crippled by the loss of its auto manufacturing sector.
The unemployment rate improved to 11.2 percent in 2010 and 9.5 percent in 2011 before gaining nearly a full percentage point in 2012.