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Wisconsin unemployment rate drops, still double last year

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin’s unemployment rate dropped from 8.6% in June to 7% in July, far below the national rate as the state and country continue to reel from massive job losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Although Wisconsin’s jobless rate for July was below the 10.2% national rate, it was more than double the 3.4% from a year ago. Wisconsin added 25,000 private-sector jobs in July, the state Department of Workforce Development reported Thursday.

Although the drop in unemployment rate is good news, Wisconsin remains down 216,000 private-sector jobs compared with a year ago, said DWD Secretary Caleb Frostman.

Wisconsin’s unemployment rate typically trends closely with the national rate. But there’s a bigger gap in recent months because the state has less of a concentration of jobs in sectors that were hardest hit by the pandemic, the state’s chief economist, Dennis Winters, said last month. For example, manufacturing and construction jobs in Wisconsin were less affected, helping to reduce the number of unemployed, he said.

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