State job growth slows

After Wisconsin’s private sector gained 25,500 jobs during the first four months of the year, the state’s economy slowed in May.

The private sector gained 900 jobs during the month, on a seasonally adjusted basis, making it the lowest private sector job growth month of the year so far for Wisconsin, according to the state Department of Workforce Development.

The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 7.4 percent in May, up from 7.3 percent in April, but still lower than the national unemployment rate of 9.1 percent.

The state needs to add 5,208 private sector jobs per month to reach Gov. Scott Walker’s goal of adding 250,000 private sector jobs by the end of his first term in office. So far the state has added 26,400 private sector jobs, an average of 5,280 per month during Walker’s first five months in office.

“Overall, the labor force is growing, with more people working and more people looking for work,” said Department of Workforce Development Secretary Scott Baumbach. “We are on pace to meet Governor Walker’s goal of 250,000 jobs by 2015, and there is much more work to be done to get more Wisconsinites trained and in family-supporting jobs.”

Private sector hiring in the state could pick up later in the year. Milwaukee ranked among the strongest hiring markets in the nation, according to the latest survey of employers by Manpower Group.

Thirty-two percent of employers in metropolitan Milwaukee plan to add to their workforce from July through September, while only 11 percent are planning cuts. That leaves Milwaukee with a net employment outlook, as Manpower calls it, of 21 percent.

Only three of the 100 largest metro markets ranked higher: Grand Rapids, Mich.; Asheville, N.C.; and Portland, Maine.

“We’ve seen seven straight quarters of employment growth,” ManpowerGroup vice president Melanie Holmes said. “That’s good news … The trends here in Milwaukee are a little bit ahead of the curve.”

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