Seasonal unemployment up, but 2013 holds hope - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Seasonal unemployment up, but 2013 holds hope

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - Only two counties in Wisconsin recorded a drop in unemployment in December, 70 others saw increases.

A report by the Department of Workforce Development shows Eau Claire and Chippewa counties lost almost 1,500 jobs last month.

It might feel like we're struggling with jobs, but there are a variety of employment opportunities in the Chippewa Valley right now.

"Looking at this picture, it doesn't look too terrible," says Economist, Scott Hodek.

"Right now I'm looking into anything," says job seeker Jessica Simmons.

Job experts say that's the kind of optimism it takes to get out there and secure a paycheck in the current economy.

"Well the difference for me is I'm a mother of four children.  Without work it's hard to care for my children and myself and my husband and my children at the same time," says Simmons.

"To be in the labor force you either have to be working or actively looking for work.  So if you stop actively looking for work then you're considered not in the labor force and you have dropped out," says Hodek.

Which is how the department of workforce development calculates unemployment numbers.

"The unemployment rate is the ratio of the unemployed to the labor force.  So it's the percent of the labor force that's unemployed."

"I'm online trying to put a resume together and hopefully try to find a job," says Simmons.

Step one is knowing where to look.

"It seems like anything that's connected to consumer spending is probably feeling it the worst," says Hodek.

"There's really not too much hiring right now," says Simmons.

That may be true for seasonal employment. The Eau Claire area lost close to 2,000 jobs in December, many in retail. But, industries like manufacturing are producing promising numbers.

"If you look at these you can see new jobs have been added and they are being added.  It isn't always easy for someone who's been laid off to see some of that," says Hodek.

One tool you can use if you're hunting for work is your local employment center.

"You might not hear of all the places that are hiring, but there is a lot of places that are hiring.  Here is the place to be to come and fill out applications and hopefully get calls back to get a job," says Simmons.

Typically February is the month where we see the highest unemployment and the rest of the year is uphill from there.

The department of workforce development will provide a more accurate look at employment and wages in its quarterly report this march. 

One local economist predicts 2013 will bring solid, but slow, job growth for the Chippewa Valley if national and global markets even out. Right now Wisconsin's unemployment rate sits at 6.6% that's compared to 7.8% nationally.

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