Keep this in mind with the upcoming referendum.... It's a reality check.
West Bend is one of six cities in Wisconsin where unemployment figures hit double digits in January.
Unemployment in West Bend is at 10.3 percent, according to statistics released Thursday by the state Department of Workforce Development. Only Beloit and Racine had higher than 10 percent unemployment the previous month.
“I think you have to go back to the 1980s to see unemployment levels as severe as this,” said John Heyer, chairman of the Waukesha-Ozaukee-Washington Workforce Development Board. He is president of Kettle Moraine Coating Inc. in Jackson.
There were periods of recession in 1992 and 2000 that increased unemployment figures, Heyer said, but neither of those lasted as long as this economic downturn looks like it will run.
“A lot of people today have not experienced this before,” he said.
Heyer has worked with the W-O-W Workforce Development Board and its predecessor agency since the mid-1980s.
Local unemployment “is high and it’s been high for awhile,” he said. “A number of companies have had layoffs and it all added up.”
Also crossing the 10 percent unemployment threshold were Sheboygan, 10 percent; Green Bay, 10.3 percent; and Janesville, 13.1 percent.
Beloit and Racine continued to have the highest unemployment rates of the state’s cities: Beloit, 15.1 percent; Racine, 13.5 percent.
The Janesville area, including communities next to the city, had the highest metropolitan area unemployment rate at 11.6 percent.
The statewide unemployment rate is 7.6 percent.