Job market outlook good for state, region



Employers in Wisconsin and the metro Milwaukee area expect to hire at a healthy pace during the first quarter of 2016, according to the latest Manpower Employment Outlook Survey from Milwaukee-based ManpowerGroup.

Among employers surveyed in the Milwaukee area, 24 percent plan to hire more employees during the first quarter, while 5 percent plan to reduce payrolls and 71 percent expect to maintain current staff levels. That yields a net employment outlook of 19 percent for the area.

For the first quarter of 2015, the Milwaukee area had a net employment outlook of 24 percent, and for the fourth quarter, the net employment outlook was 20 percent.

For the Milwaukee area, 2016 job prospects appear best in: manufacturing; transportation and utilities; wholesale and retail trade; information; professional and business services; education and health services; leisure and hospitality; and other services, according to the survey. Employers in construction plan to reduce staffing levels, while hiring in financial activities and government are expected to remain unchanged.

The numbers are similar statewide, with 24 percent of employers planning to hire more employees during the first quarter, 8 percent expecting to reduce payrolls, 66 percent expecting to maintain their current workforce and 2 percent unsure of their hiring plans. That yields a net employment outlook of 16 percent for the state.

For the first quarter of 2015, Wisconsin had a net employment outlook of 18 percent and for the fourth quarter, the net employment outlook was 15 percent.

Nationally, of the more than 11,000 employers surveyed, 20 percent expect to add to their workforce and 6 percent expect a decline in their payrolls during the first quarter of 2016. When seasonal variations are removed from the data, the national net employment outlook is 17 percent, according to the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey.

The U.S. economy added 211,000 jobs in November and the U.S. unemployment rate remained at 5 percent, according to the latest report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In addition, job gain numbers for September and October were revised upward. The U.S. economy added 145,000 jobs in September (revised up from 137,000) and 298,000 in October (revised up from 271,000).

The Wisconsin economy added 15,100 private sector jobs in October, the best month of job growth of the year for the state, according to the latest state jobs data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. It was the best one-month private sector job gain for the state in 23 years, according to the state Department of Workforce Development.

The state also added 1,000 government jobs in October. Wisconsin’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate held steady at 4.3 percent in October.

“With the largest one-month gain in private-sector jobs since 1992, Wisconsin employers are creating more opportunities for thousands of current and new workers to support themselves and their families,” said DWD Secretary Reggie Newson. “With significant job gains across industry sectors, an unemployment rate of 4.3 percent and a state labor force participation rate that is more than five points higher than the nation’s, Wisconsin continues to be a land of opportunity for our world-class workforce.”

However, the BLS revised its estimates for September, which indicated that the state lost an additional 5,700 private sector jobs that month, for a new job loss total of 7,000.

Including the preliminary October job numbers, the state has added 30,300 private sector jobs year-to-date, according to BLS data.

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Andrew is the editor of BizTimes Milwaukee. He joined BizTimes in 2003, serving as managing editor and real estate reporter for 11 years. A University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate, he is a lifelong resident of the state. He lives in Muskego with his wife, Seng, their son, Zach, and their dog, Hokey. He is an avid sports fan and is a member of the Muskego Athletic Association board of directors.

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