County Profile

Oneida County, Wisconsin offers a unique opportunity for people seeking to mix business with an enjoyable lifestyle. The Oneida County Economic Development profile of the Oneida County business community demonstrates this natural opportunity. In selecting a location for your business, a variety of factors must be investigated including:
  • availability and cost of a qualified work force
  • technical training
  • surface and air transportation
  • utility costs
  • availability of buildings or building sites
  • taxes
Your lifestyle and that of your employees is critical to your decision as well. You need to know the emphasis placed by the community on quality of life factors such as:
  • quality education
  • four-season recreation
  • professional health care
  • affordable housing
Oneida County can meet your demands in each of these areas. Located in the heart of Wisconsin’s Northwoods, Oneida County is the most densely populated county in Northeastern Wisconsin. Oneida County covers 1,125 total square miles, including 74,415 acres of lakes and rivers amounting to approximately 10% of the total Oneida County area. Incorporated into Oneida County's geographical make up is over 1,000 lakes, including three of Wisconsin’s largest lakes.

Oneida County encompasses 20 towns and the City of Rhinelander which is the sole incorporated municipality. A twenty-one member board of supervisors oversees the county government; the City of Rhinelander has a mayor/council government and each of the 20 towns is supervised by the town board.

Rhinelander, the county seat of Oneida County, is the largest city in Northeastern Wisconsin. Rhinelander is the economic and industrial hub serving not only Northeastern Wisconsin, but also the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.



The Oneida County workforce offers your company a stable pool of educated and trained workers. Job Center of Wisconsin, a self-service computerized database, maintains current information on job postings statewide and nationwide to provide wider exposure to jobs and job seekers. Labor costs for the county are very favorable to the employers. The local workforce has kept pace with growth in the industrial, commercial and retail business base. The exceptional quality of life enjoyed in Oneida County continues to be a competitive advantage for our employers in recruiting qualified workers. Go to WisConomy for more information on Oneida County and State of Wisconsin Workforce.

When looking at the industrial landscape of Oneida County, one of the most obvious features is the relatively small size of individual businesses. The largest employers in the county have between 500 and 999 employees, with many of the top twenty five having between 100 and 249 workers..

In Oneida County, approximately 3000 residents leave the area each day to commute to work. Around 2,000 make the trip to neighboring Vilas or Lincoln Counties. In retrospect, there are nearly 4,000 people who travel to Oneida County for work. One interesting thing about this area is the triangular relationship between Eagle River, Rhinelander and the Woodruff-Minocqua area (which includes Hazelhurst and environs). This area constitutes a single labor force market, even though it crosses the county lines between Vilas and Oneida counties.


An extensive network of highways and modern air service connect Oneida County with major metropolitan areas throughout the Great Lakes states. The distance to Chicago is approximately 330 miles; to Minneapolis, 240 miles; to Madison, 200 miles; and to Milwaukee, approximately 240 miles. U.S. Highway 51 is a primary north-south artery, linking Oneida County to Interstates 90 and 94 in south-central Wisconsin. U.S. 51 is a four-lane highway with controlled access to Merrill. Provisions to extend the four-lane highway to Minocqua have been incorporated into the state Corridors 2020 highway improvement program.

U.S. Highway 8 is the major east-west corridor through the county, providing access to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and Minneapolis/St. Paul. U.S. Highway 45, traversing the eastern edge of the county, is a second north-south route between Wisconsin’s Fox River Valley and the Upper Peninsula. State highways 70 and 47 provide additional access routes. The county maintains 165 miles of trunk roads. All highways within the county carry an 80,000-pound load limit throughout the year. Permits are offered for larger loads

Canadian National Railroad (CN) connects Oneida County with the rest of the North American rail system.  CN itself extends to both Canadian coasts and the U.S. Gulf  and provides connections to all the major rail systems.  The CN runs west from Rhinelander thru Bradley to Prentice and has sites where businesses who are not directly rail served could transfer product to or from truck.   Rail works best for products that can take advantage of the rail car to truck weight ratio of 4 to 1 - the product weight in four 80,000 lb trucks can be handled by one rail car.  Rail is also more competitive over longer distances.   Use of rail can provide customers with positive carbon offsets versus truck..

The Rhinelander- Oneida County Airport is the largest airport serving Oneida County and the surrounding counties, plus a sizeable portion of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. SkyWest Airlines dba Delta Connection provides daily schedules to link you to anywhere in the world. For more information on airlines, click here.

Rhinelander Flying Service, Inc. is a full service fixed base operator providing air charter, air ambulance, fuel, aircraft repair, flying lessons, aircraft rental, and scenic airplane rides.

Lakeland Airport at Noble F. Lee Memorial Field in Arbor Vitae boasts a 5,150-foot north-south runway with parallel taxiway and a 3,602-foot east-west runway. The north-south runway is paved to a width of 100 feet and the east-west runway to 75 feet, both are lighted. Hangar storage and a paved ramp are available for overnight parking.

Three Lakes Municipal Airport offers a 3,400 by 120 foot turf runway. The airport runway is lighted, but is closed in the winter. The facility does not have fuel available.


Wisconsin Public Service Corporation provides natural gas and electricity throughout the county. Three-phase electric is available in each of the population centers and in many other locations in the county, generally along major transportation routes. Utility rates in Wisconsin are very competitive with surrounding areas. Rates for business can be found through the following links:
Wisconsin Public Service Electric & Gas Rates.

The Rhinelander Water Utility and sanitary districts in Minocqua/Woodruff and Three Lakes provide sanitary sewer and water service. The capacity of the Rhinelander system and the current usage rates can obtained by contacting the City of Rhinelander Wastewater Utility.


The State of Wisconsin concentrates on reducing the cost of doing business while maintaining the high level of government services traditionally offered. Wisconsin recognizes that worker’s compensation insurance premiums are a factor in attracting industry to the state and encouraging expansion. Among Midwestern states, Wisconsin rates remained very competitive.

The total of State and County sales tax is 5.5%. Manufacturing machinery and equipment are exempt from property tax in Wisconsin, as are manufacturers’ inventory, pollution control and computer equipment. Professional state-trained assessors value all manufacturing property.

Property taxes collected in 2018 were based on the following effective rates per thousand dollars of assessed value. All property in Wisconsin is assessed at full value; property tax exemptions are prohibited by the state constitution.

For 2018 Property Tax Rates click here.


Excellence in elementary, secondary and post-secondary education is a key to why Oneida County is such an enjoyable place to live. Elementary schools are modern structures and well distributed throughout the county. Additional information about each school can be obtained here.

For over fifty years, Nicolet Area Technical College's mission has been to deliver superior community college education that transforms lives, enriches communities, fosters economic development, and expands employment opportunities. Nicolet proudly serves the Northwoods community from its Rhinelander campus situated on the shores of Lake Julia, and from outreach centers located within the Nicolet District. It is one of 16 colleges in the Wisconsin Technical College System.

Successful businesses depend on well trained workers. Nicolet Area Technical College offers an extensive array of high quality, skills-based training solutions to increase individual productivity and maximize organizational performance through their Continuing Education and Customized Training Courses. "Northwoods manufacturers are experiencing unprecedented change in adapting to the 21st century economy. Increased competition in a global market and a focus on quality, productivity, and price are shaping the modern manufacturing landscape." Nicolet Area Technical College is a full business partner and offers a variety of education programs and specialized training for employers to offer. Some examples can be found here:
Business Management, Leadership Personal Effectiveness, Manufacturing Techinical, Quality Process Improvement, Workplace Fundamentals and Contractor Training.


Medical personnel in the Northwoods truly have the best of both worlds. The healthcare system in Wisconsin is nationally renowned. There are several hospitals and medical offices throughout Oneida County.

The two general medical and surgical hospitals in Oneida County, Ascension St. Mary’s Hospital in Rhinelander and Howard Young Medical Center in Woodruff provide professional health care to residents throughout the Northwoods region. Doctors at these hospitals have advanced diagnostic equipment at hand, while patients enjoy very attractive facilities.

Ascension Ministry Health Care offers two health care clinics in Rhinelander, with an additional clinic located in Woodruff. Aspirus has clinics in Rhinelander, Woodruff and Three Lakes. Marshfield Clinic has locations in Minocqua, Rhinelander and Woodruff. Specialists in oncology, cardiology and other areas serve the needs of the region. All Oneida County health care providers continually upgrade their services to provide proper care to the growing population.

For information on the following items, please click on the link:
List of Oneida County Assisted Living Locations
List of Oneida County Nursing Homes
List of Oneida County Community Based Residential Facilities


Oneida County is served by the Northwoods River News and The Lakeland Times. The weekly Three Lakes News provides local coverage of the northeastern portion of the county. The Star Journal and Hodag Buyer's Guide newspapers are available for home delivery and at news stands.

Several AM and FM commercial radio stations, including NRG Northwoods cover the Oneida County area, as well as a listener-sponsored stations broadcasting WXPR and Wisconsin Public Radio.

WJFW is a television station in Rhinelander, WI that broadcasts throughout the Northwoods and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and provides complete local news coverage. The station runs programming from the NBC network and identifies itself as "Newswatch 12".

Frontier Communications and Charter Communications provide both business and residential television, high-speed internet and phone packages to Rhinelander, Minocqua, Woodruff and Three Lakes and carry a large variety of major regional and national stations.

The United States Postal Service has full service offices in each population center. United Parcel Service and Fed-Ex each operate terminals and distribution centers in Rhinelander, along with other express services.


The Oneida County climate varies between long, relatively cold winters and warm summers. Oneida County, WI, gets 31 inches of rain per year. The US average is 37.  Average snowfall in Oneida County is 58 inches. The average US city gets 25 inches of snow per year. The number of days with any measurable precipitation is 122.

On average, there are 188 sunny days per year in Oneida County, WI. The July high is around 78 degrees. The January low is -1. Our comfort index, which is based on humidity during the hot months, is a 60 out of 100, where higher is more comfortable. The US average on the comfort index is 44.


Oneida County is well known for its wide variety of recreational and cultural opportunities. The Northern Highland American Legion State Forest covers 225,000 acres in Oneida, Vilas and Iron counties. There are 32 miles of mountain bike trails, 70 miles of cross-country ski trails and about 400 miles of snowmobile trails, nine designated swimming beaches and more than 100 designated boat launch sites. For those who like hiking and snowshoeing, there are over 20 miles of trails to experience.

An additional 80,000 acres of county forest and seven recreation areas offer 245 miles of cross-country ski trails and over 343 miles of snowmobile trails. For biking enthusiasts, the Bearskin State Trail is a scenic 18-mile tour running from Nokomis to Minocqua.
The Northeastern area of Wisconsin is an area with year-round recreational opportunities. Fishing and hunting abound in the area.

There are over 400 named and 800 other lakes and more than 50 named streams and rivers. Muskie, walleye pike, trout and pan fish are favorites of fishermen, while grouse, duck and deer hunting draw sportsmen from throughout the Great Lakes states.

There are more than ten public and private golf courses throughout the region including the Northwood Golf Course, which opened in 1989 and continues to draw rave reviews for its beauty and difficulty. Over 100 restaurants throughout the county cater to tastes ranging from Chinese to German, but the Friday night fish fry will remain a favorite here.

Foe a relaxing time on the water, check out the Wisconsin River Cruise. Tommy O's Playhouse, aseasonal theater group is located in Hazelhurst .Additionally, Rouman Amusement Company in Rhinelander is the home of a state-of-the-art movie theaters, with a second theater located in the Lakeland area. The Hodag Country Music Festival in Rhinelander is one of the nation’s largest and is held annually in July.


The quality of life enjoyed in Oneida County is unencumbered by a high cost of living. Housing prices are extremely attractive, particularly in light of the diversity of settings. Homes on lakes and rivers are the norm, not the exception. Oneida County has had a continued growth pattern, which has existed for the past 15 years and appears to be getting stronger each year as more families choose to come the the Northwoods to experience our high quality of life. For home information on housing characteristics, click here.


Rhinelander is a commercial and retail center for northern Wisconsin, while Minocqua offers a surprising mix of specialty stores aimed at the seasonal visitor. Several major retail and discount stores, including Walmart, Office Max, Kohl's, Home Depot, Menards, Hobby Lobby, Dunham Sports, Dollar Tree and Aldi, offer competitive prices. Combined, these retail outlets make Oneida County an attractive shopping locale.

We invite you to consider why Oneida County is a natural opportunity.