Manufacturing lags behind state job growth

Industry employment down 2,400 from June 2015 to 2016

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Wisconsin’s manufacturing industry lost more than 2,400 jobs between June 2015 and June 2016, even as the state added almost 30,000 private sector jobs, according to data from the Department of Workforce Development.


Manufacturing was one of just a handful of industries to show year-over-year job losses in the latest Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages data released by the state ahead of the upcoming national release. Private sector employment in utilities was down 909, or 8.5 percent. Finance and insurance was down 202, a drop of 0.2 percent, and the unclassified and other services categories were also down.

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Manufacturing lost 2,402 jobs during the period, a drop of 0.5 percent.

The data stands in contrast to the previously released Current Employment Statistics, which showed manufacturing employment up 6,600. The preliminary CES figures for October show a year-over-year gain of 3,200 jobs.

The QCEW data, which is based on payroll data from nearly all employers, is generally considered more accurate than the CES measure, which is based on a survey. The CES data is released monthly and the QCEW is released on a quarterly basis, usually with a six-month delay.

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The state added 30,535 jobs across all industries and sectors, according to the QCEW data, including 29,880 in the private sector, a 1.2 percent increase.

The top gaining industries included health care and social assistance, up 7,587; management of companies; up 6,879; retail trade, up 4,663; and transportation and warehousing, up 3,277.

The counties with the strongest job gains included Dane, up 8,914; Kenosha, up 4,030; and Waukesha, up 3,527. Milwaukee County added 1,119 jobs.

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Waukesha County’s gain came despite a 1,382 job drop in manufacturing employment. The county’s losses were spread between a number of industries within manufacturing, including electrical equipment, printing, prime metals, metal fabrication, machinery and chemical manufacturing.

Six of the eight counties in the BizTimes coverage area lost jobs in manufacturing during the period, led by Waukesha. Racine lost 489, Milwaukee lost 178, Kenosha was down 66, Washington was off 50 and Ozaukee was down 16. Sheboygan County, up 214, and Walworth County, up 22, were the only counties to gain manufacturing employment in the region.

Statewide, most of the manufacturing job losses during the period came in machinery, metal fabrication, prime metal manufacturing, transportation equipment, electrical equipment and printing.

The state gained manufacturing jobs in food manufacturing, beverage and tobacco, nonmetallic mineral products and plastic and rubber products.

Read more economic data reports at the BizTracker page.

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