Metro Milwaukee lags behind state in job, labor force growth

Region added 2,000 jobs from October 2016 to October 2017

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:08 am

Wisconsin added an estimated 42,400 jobs over the last year, a 1.45 percent increase, but metro Milwaukee added just 2,000 jobs over the same period, according to data released Wednesday by the Department of Workforce Development.

The metro region, which includes Milwaukee, Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington counties, increased employment by just 0.23 percent. Job gains in durable goods manufacturing, professional and business services, health care and social assistance, wholesale trade and leisure and hospitality have been offset by declines in retail trade and finance.

Metro Milwaukee has consistently trailed behind the state in year-over-year job growth averaging only a slight increase of 0.01 percent through October while the state has averaged a 1.07 percent increase.

While job growth may not be robust, the region’s unemployment rate was at a non-seasonally adjusted 3.2 percent, down a full percentage point from the same time last year. The state’s non-adjusted rate was 2.8 percent, down 0.9 points from last year.

With unemployment rates below what is considered full-employment, many companies across industries have said they can’t find enough workers to fill their open positions.

The state’s year-over-year labor force growth has averaged 0.92 percent through the first 10 months of the year, including more than 1.2 percent growth for the last five months.

Metro Milwaukee, on the other hand, has averaged 0.14 percent growth, only topping 1 percent in August and September. The labor force actually shrunk, year-over-year, during the first five months of 2017.

Read more economic data reports at the BizTracker page.

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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