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Wisconsin Watch partners with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. Read our methodology to learn how we check claims.


Wisconsin’s unemployment rate has gradually increased to 3.2% in December 2022 — the latest data figure — from a historic low of 2.8% in March and April of that year. The only other years since 1976 when the unemployment rate approximated 2.8% were January-March 2018 and March 2020, when it sank to 2.9%. 

Wisconsin’s unemployment rate was lower than the national unemployment rate throughout 2022. Wisconsin also saw a historic high for the number of people employed at 3,059,272 in May 2022.

While low unemployment rates were a measure of the state’s economic strength, they also may have indicated the struggle of employers in Wisconsin to hire employees. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics sets the unemployment rate by extensive, regular surveys, calculating the number of unemployed people — people who are actively searching for work, excluding those who are inactive, such as retirees or stay-at-home parents— as a percentage of the labor force. 

This Fact Brief is responsive to conversations such as this one.


US Bureau of Labor Statistics: Wisconsin unemployment rate through December 2022

State of Wisconsin: BLS Data: Wisconsin sets record for total number of people employed

US Bureau of Labor Statistics: The employment situation — January 2023

State of Wisconsin: BLS Data: Wisconsin’s unemployment rate in April ties record low 2.8%

PBS Wisconsin: Wisconsin’s record low unemployment

The Badger Herald: Recent reports indicate economic strength in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Public Radio: Unemployment in Wisconsin is at a historic low, labor force is growing

US Bureau of Labor Statistics: How the government measures unemployment

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Jacob Alabab-Moser joined as Wisconsin Watch’s fact checker in September 2022, as part of the effort by The Gigafact Project in partnership with different state-level news outlets to combat misinformation in the 2022 midterm elections. Jacob has several years of experience as a fact checker and research assistant at a variety of organizations, including at The Gigafact Project. He holds a BA from Brown University and is pursuing a MSc from the London School of Economics and Political Science.