If it seems as if Wisconsin's economy has been hemorrhaging jobs of late, the latest job numbers from the state Department of Workforce Development confirm that perception as harsh reality. Wisconsin' unemployment rate for January was 7.6 percent, up a startling 1.8 percentage points from December's 5.8 percent.

"The jump in Wisconsin' unemployment rate underscores the economic challenges we face as a nation and why we are taking strong action through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to put people to work," said DAD Secretary Roberta Gasman.

The rate was 2.7 percentage points higher than the rate of 4.9 percent for Wisconsin in January of 2008. The national rate for January was 8.5 percent, compared to 7.1 percent in December and 5.4 percent in January 2008.

From December to January, total Wisconsin nonfat jobs decreased by an estimated 87,900 to 2,755,600. Private sector jobs shrank by 72,500. Trade sector jobs fell by 17,600 over the month, Government jobs were down 15,400 and Manufacturing jobs decreased by 13,500, according to DWD.

Over the year, January 2009 showed a decline of 72,700 Wisconsin non-farm jobs. Manufacturing was down 31,700, Professional & Business Services were down 17,400 and Construction was down 11,000 jobs. Educational & Health Services jobs increased 9,700.

The January survey of Wisconsin households showed 60,500 fewer employed compared to December, and 75,200 fewer employed than one year ago. Wisconsin's civilian labor force decreased 6,400 to 3,073,700 in January, which was 8,200 more than January 2008.

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