Pace of wage growth in Wisconsin slowed in May

Last updated on June 17th, 2022 at 02:38 pm

The pace of year-over-year wage growth in Wisconsin slowed in May but it remained above 6% for the fifth straight month, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The average hourly wage for private sector workers in the state was $29.93 in May, up 6.7% from the same time last year. In April, the average hourly wage was up 7.7% from the prior year.

Those gains did not keep pace with overall inflation in the economy which measured 8.6% in May.

May was still the second strongest month of year-over-year wage growth this year despite the slowdown.

Wage growth and the slowdown of growth were mixed across industries.

Construction, for example, saw hourly wages climb 9.1% from the prior year, an acceleration from 7.4% growth in April.

Manufacturing employees, on the other hand, saw hourly wages climb just 2.8% from the prior year, a slowdown from 4.1% growth in April. Production workers in manufacturing faired better with hourly wage up 6.8% to $23.19, an acceleration from 6.5% in April.

However, manufacturing production workers also saw their average weekly hours slide to less than 40 for the first time since July 2020. At 39.9 hours, the weekly average was down more than 2 hours per week from the same time last year.

The decline in hours meant the average weekly wage for production workers was up just 1.4% from last year to $925.28.

Leisure and hospitality workers saw a similar trend. The average hourly wage for the sector was $17.72, up 9.8% from May 2021. The sector saw wage growth of 10.6% in April.

But in May 2021, the sector was averaging 22.3 hours per week, compared to 21.8 hours this year. As a result, the average weekly wage for the sector was up 7.3% to $386.30, compared to 10.6% growth in April.

Across all of the private sector in Wisconsin, weekly wages were up 5.5% in May, a slowdown from 6.4% growth in April.

Compared to other states, Wisconsin’s growth in average weekly wages ranked 19th in the country, down from 15th in April. The 0.92 percentage point change in growth rate was the 12th largest drop in the country.

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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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