The average private sector hourly wage in Wisconsin climbed 5.7% year-over-year in September, reaching $32.06, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The increase marks the fourth straight month the state has seen a more than 5% increase in average hourly wages. September’s reading was also up from the 5.2% increase seen in July and August.
For the third quarter, Wisconsin averaged a 5.3% year-over-year increase, ranking 16th in the country.
Wage gains were strongest in the manufacturing sector where the average hourly rate across all workers increased 9.6% in September to $31.83. The sector averaged an 8.4% increase for the third quarter.
However, those increases are not being felt evenly across the sector.
The average hourly wage for production workers was up just 2.7% in September to $24.66. Production workers averaged an increase of 3.6% in the third quarter after seeing increases of 6.4% and 7.3% in the first and second quarter.
Production workers have also seen a downward trend in the average number of hours worked per week. After starting the year averaging 41.1 hours, the averaged dipped below 40 in April and reached 38.9 in September.
The last time the average weekly hours for production workers was below 39 in Wisconsin was May 2020, the heart of COVID shutdowns, and prior to that the last occurrence was January 2010.
Slowing hourly wage growth combined with declining hours translated to a 3.3% year-over-year decrease in the average weekly wage for production workers in the state. Weekly wages for all manufacturing workers were up 6.6%.
Like production workers, construction has also seen slower wage growth compared to the rest of the state with a 3.7% increase in September to $39.19 and an average increase of 3.2% for the third quarter.
Beyond manufacturing, the strongest wage growth in the third quarter came in leisure and hospitality, which averaged a 7.6% year-over-year increase since July. That included an 8.1% increase to $19.73 in September.
Private education and health services also saw strong wage growth in the third quarter, averaging a 6.7% increase. The average wage of $32.41 in September was up 8.5% from the prior year.
Financial activities averaged a 6% year-over-year increase for the third quarter, including 4.4% in September to reach $39.71.
Professional and business services, on the other hand, averaged an increase of just 0.4% for the quarter and saw a 1.6% decline in September to $35.04.