The City of Milwaukee’s labor force posted its first year-over-year gain since September and the city’s unemployment rate continued to have one of the largest declines from the previous year.
At 5 percent, the non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was up from 4 percent in May, but the 1.5 percentage point drop from June 2016 trailed only the city of Racine among the state’s largest cities. Racine’s unemployment was 5.1 percent, down from 7 percent at this time last year.
Milwaukee’s workforce had been shrinking when compared to the previous year, averaging a 0.8 percent decline over the first five months of 2017. It increased by 0.2 percent compared to June 2016, an increase of 592 people.
While a small increase, it is a positive sign that more people are choosing to be part of the labor force and also finding work. The number of employed people in the city increased by 4,700 compared to last year and the number of unemployed people dropped by 4,108.
Data for the entire metro Milwaukee area showed wages were up 3.6 percent over last year to $912.49 per week. The increase, which includes Milwaukee, Washington, Ozaukee and Waukesha counties, is about even with the average through the first few months of the year.
Metro area production workers in manufacturing saw wages up 10 percent over last year in June.
Many of the other large municipalities in southeastern Wisconsin have unemployment rates between 3 and 3.5 percent.
The lowest rates in the state are in Sun Prairie and Fitchburg at 2.7 percent. Dane County has the lowest rate among counties at 2.6 percent.
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