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January unemployment rates climb across region

Fewer help-wanted signs were out across the far western region of Wisconsin in January.

All counties in the region saw their unemployment rates rise.

Statewide the rate rose from 4.6 percent in December 2007, to 5.5 percent in January. The national rate for January was 5.4 percent.

In both Pierce and St. Croix counties unemployment rates were up almost a full point, going from 4.4 percent in December to 5.3 percent in January.

Both Pepin and Polk counties saw a significant increase in their unemployment rates.

For Polk County the rate jumped from 6 percent to 7.6 percent, while in Pepin County the rate went from 4.8 percent to 6.3 percent.

In Dunn County the rate went up from 4.4 percent in December to 5.2 percent in January.

The increase in Eau Claire County was only 0.5 percent, up to 4.7 percent.

Officials with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development said that seasonal factors are to blame for the jump in rates.

"A combination of seasonal factors such as winter breaks in the education system, reductions in retail sales following the holiday shopping season and record or near record snowfall in many areas played a significant role in Wisconsin's labor market in January," said Roberta Gassman, secretary of DWD said.

Counties in the region were not alone in seeing increased rates. According to DWD officials every county in the state saw an increase in unemployment.

Dane and Waukesha counties saw the smallest increases with both having just a 0.5 percent increase over December rates.