Wisconsin added 3,400 private sector jobs in May as labor force grows

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Wisconsin employers added 3,400 private sector jobs in May and the state’s labor force participation rate increased to 66.1%, according to data released by the Department of Workforce Development on Thursday.

The addition of nonfarm jobs means Wisconsin is 201,100 jobs ahead of where it was in May 2020, but private sector employment still trails February 2020 by 106,000 positions.

Wisconsin’s unemployment rate was unchanged at 3.9% in May. Total employment, which comes from a different survey than the private sector job data, increased 9,300 and total unemployment was unchanged.

The state’s labor force participation rate increased slightly to 66.1%, an increase of 0.2 percentage points.

Wisconsin’s total labor force now has around 9,300 more people than it did in February 2020. However, total unemployment is higher by nearly 18,300 and total employment is down about 8,900. In February 2020, the labor force participation rate was 66.2%.

The manufacturing sector led Wisconsin’s job gains from April to May, adding 3,500 jobs. Most of the sector’s new positions came in nondurable goods manufacturing, which added 2,600 jobs.

Other sectors with job growth strength included 1,700 new positions in health care and social assistance, 1,200 new jobs in professional, scientific and technical services and 1,200 new jobs in transportation, warehousing and utilities.

On the other hand, construction lost 2,200 positions, arts, entertainment and recreation lost 1,200 and retail trade lost 1,100.

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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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