State private sector job growth flat in August as unemployment ticks up

Wisconsin added 44,200 nonfarm jobs in last year, ranks 25th in job growth

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Wisconsin’s private sector job growth was essentially flat in August and the state’s unemployment rate increased slightly to 3 percent, according to new data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in July was 2.9 percent.

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Total employment in the state was down by 6,800 in August and the civilian labor force decreased by 4,900, according to household survey data.

A separate survey of businesses showed private sector employment in the state decreased by 100 in August while total nonfarm employment was up by 3,000.

Manufacturing employment increased by an estimated 1,500 jobs during the month while accommodation and food service lost 1,600 jobs.

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The state’s estimated gain of 9,100 private sector jobs in July was also revised down to a gain of 7,200 jobs.

The state has added an estimated 26,400 private sector jobs so far in 2018.

In announcing the August data, the state Department of Workforce Development touted a gain of 44,200 nonfarm jobs from August 2017 to August 2018. That job growth amounted to a 1.5 percent increase, which ranked 25th in the country over the same period.

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With Wisconsin’s low unemployment rate, many employers have said they would add jobs but cannot find candidates. Average weekly wages increased 4.96 percent from August 2017 to August 2018, the seventh largest increase in the country.

Monthly job estimates are generally not considered as accurate as the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, which relies on unemployment insurance records. The most recent version of that report covers the period ending in March. Wisconsin ranked 32nd in private sector job growth on that report.

The department also highlighted the addition of 22,500 manufacturing jobs over the last year. The increase was the second largest in the country behind Texas, which added 23,400 manufacturing jobs. Wisconsin’s 4.82 percent increase in manufacturing jobs was the fourth highest growth rate for any state behind Nevada, Iowa and Idaho.

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