We have gathered important information about the local labor market to help job seekers understand the current trends in the NorthCentral Region. Check back regularly for updates and a new article every month. 

Career Services

Our Career Services Team specializes in our local labor market. They have formed connections with local employers to facilitate opportunities for FSET customers. They also work with labor market experts to gather the best information available about the trends in the NorthCentral Region.

CSS Team

 Kailey Holloway Alvarado

 Career Services Specialist

 (Adams, Portage, Wood)

 (715) 315 - 0191



 Megan Stanchik

 Career Services Specialist

 (Forest, Langlade, Lincoln, Marathon, Oneida, Vilas)

 (715) 216 - 0144


Let's Talk Labor Market 19-04

Effect of Tariffs on Our Labor Market

Have you heard of the ripple effect? Chances are you have seen it in action when it starts to rain. Each drop causes a ripple of waves in a pool of water. You quickly lose track of the first few ripples as they expand out to near infinity on the water surface. If you were on a lake, you could see ripples that were caused by something a mile away. You don’t know what caused the ripples, but you can see them.

There are quite a few things that generate the same type of ripple effect in our labor market. Just like rain drops, they may not seem significant at the time they drop, but they can have lasting ripple effects.

One example of a ripple generator that affects our labor market is a tariff. A tariff is defined as a tax or fee added onto the cost of bringing materials into (import) or out of (export) a country. The goal of a tariff is to provide an advantage for locally produced products by making foreign products more expensive.

Tariffs have been a part of our economy for decades, but they fell out of favor as the world economy became more inter-dependent. Most manufactured products cannot claim “made in (x country)” because components are made throughout the world. We have seen “made in” replaced with “assembled in”.

In 2018, new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports were implemented. The ripple effect of those tariffs is expected to have long-term impacts, including on the labor market.

Even businesses who never purchased foreign steel are being impacted. All steel prices have increased, whether domestic or foreign, due to an industry shortage of steel here in America. Based on the simple principle of supply and demand, due to this lack of availability of material, domestic suppliers immediately increased their prices to match that of the foreign material because they can’t meet the demand due to lack of capacity.

According to the AISI (American Iron and Steel Institute), after the tariffs were imposed, steel imports decreased while overall market prices increased by more than 50%, which resulted in a shortage of material for manufacturers using these materials.

Tim Zimmerman, President at Mitchell Metal Products, in Merrill, WI, said he has seen a 40-50% cost increase in 2018 on materials he uses in his business. Future job loss with his company is a concern as they have customers considering buying directly from overseas to save themselves money.

Only time will tell how much more the tariffs will affect NorthCentral Wisconsin manufacturers. Some argue that the tariffs are only causing temporary pain and eventually this pain will be worth it. They also believe that companies need to figure out how to approach their business plans going forward by taking on more business and hiring more workers or by making their processes more efficient thus reducing labor costs.

Although we are currently in a low unemployment period, the potential retraction of industry that utilizes steel and aluminum could have a significant impact on the future labor market. Although we do not have control over national policy, we can continue to educate ourselves on these ripple effect factors that can change our labor market.

Referenced Articles:




To see more Let's Talk Labor Market articles, please click HERE


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Top FSET Employers

The following are 3 of the employers who have hired the largest number of FSET customers in 2018. 

Infinity Foods, formerly known as both Infinity Foods and McCain Foods, combined operations to become Infinity Foods on August 1, 2018. Since that time, Infinity has hired 8 FSET customers from both Wood and Portage County. Most of these employments took place during the month of October, and the CSS team expects the number of FSET customers hired at Infinity to continue to go up. 

Nicolet Staffing, a staffing and employment agency with locations in Wisconsin Rapids and Stevens Point, is hiring for the Eastbay/Footlocker holiday season. Nicolet is offering their seasonal employees transportation from Stevens Point to Eastbay in Wausau in order to accommodate Eastbay's large seasonal push. 12 FSET customers have been employed through Nicolet since the beginning of 2018, with an continued expected increase towards the end of the year. 


Midwest Labor has locations that service the NorthCentral FSET Program in Marshfield, Wisconsin Rapids & Stevens Point. With 36 employments for FSET customers during 2018 (so far!), Midwest Labor is a go-to employment agency for anyone who's looking for quick and simple placement with an employer. Midwest usually specializes in jobs with manufacturers, and several FSET customers have gone on to be hired on directly at the manufacturer of their choice.

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Employer Spotlight



Charter NEX in Rhinelander, WI is the leading independent producer of plastic barrier films. The majority of what they manufacture is food grade material. An example would include the plastic around sliced American cheese or the plastic seal on top of a plastic fruit cup. They also have a place in the medical industry where they manufacture the plastic that you’ll see wrapping disposable medical tools. 

Charter NEX Films currently has 7 locations. They include Bloomer, Milton, Rhinelander, and Superior, Wisconsin; Delaware, Ohio; Turners Falls, Massachusetts and Blythewood, South Carolina.  Between these seven facilities, they have the capacity to produce hundreds of millions of pounds of film per year and employ more than 550 workers!

Charter NEX also invests in its employees by providing Charter NEX University (CNU). This platform provides consistent and ongoing training to employees. This computer-based training program consists of more than 100 modules revolving around different subjects such as basic and advanced extrusion, material handling, and quality.

Charter NEX is always looking for ways to stay relevant in today’s economy by staying innovative. Most recently, Charter NEX received the SPC Innovator Award that recognized their development of a new cereal liner that uses 35% post-consumer recycled content that is still suitable for food contact. This liner is being used on General Mills Annie’s Cereal. 

As their slogan states:

“Always Finding A Better Way”

If interested in working at Charter NEX, they prefer applicants apply online. You can find their online application by clicking here. They also have blank applications and a drop off box available in the main entryway of their facility at 3606 Red Arrow Dr in Rhinelander. Please let your FSET Case Manager know of your interest in Charter NEX as well!



To see more Employer Spotlights, please click HERE 

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Unemployment Rates


NorthCentral Region Rates

Unemployment statistics pulled from Bureau of Labor Statistics run by the United States Department of Labor. For more information, go to https://data.bls.gov.

(not seasonally adjusted)

 CountyFebruary '19 January  '19 December '18
 Adams6.4 6.8


 Forest 5.7 6.34.5
 Langlade4.8 4.73.5
 Lincoln4.0 4.02.7
 Marathon2.8 2.92.2
 Oneida5.1 5.03.9
 Portage3.5 3.62.6
 Vilas 5.0 5.14.3
 Wood4.2 4.43.1
 Wisconsin3.3 3.52.6

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Hot Jobs

The following are the most in-demand fields in the NorthCentral Region:

  • Sales
  • Registered Nurse
  • Heavy & Tractor-Trailer Drivers
  • Marketing
  • General/Operations Manager
  • Accountant/Auditor
  • Maintenance/Repair Worker
  • Construction Worker
  • Carpenter
  • Welder

For more information, click HERE.

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Thru 3/31/19
   3,233 People 
 have gotten jobs
In the NorthCentral
   FSET Program

Fastest Growing Jobs (per North Central Workforce Development Board)

Please head to the NCWDB's website for more data regarding the NorthCentral region!

As you can see, many of the fastest growing jobs are entry level positions, and they pay a lower wage. But don’t let this discourage you if this is not what you want to do long-term! Everyone needs to start somewhere.


Keep in mind that all these positions allow you to gain experience and knowledge that you can take along with you as you travel along your career path.


For example, retail sales is a growing job field with lots of potential. Note the graphics below showing two possible outcomes from starting out with a retail sales position!


Remember – every job counts!

To see more graphics like the ones above, please click HERE

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Address: Wood County Human Services - River Block

111 W. Jackson St., 2nd Floor, Wisconsin Rapids WI 54495  

Phone: +1 (715) 421-8608 8


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