Wisconsin added 8,000 private sector jobs in January

Unemployment down to 3.1 percent

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:08 am

Wisconsin added 8,000 private sector jobs in January and the state’s unemployment rate dropped slightly to a seasonally adjusted 3.1 percent, according to new data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The state’s nonfarm employment increased by 9,200 overall with job gains led by durable goods manufacturing, up 2,100 and wholesale trade, up 3,200.

Other sectors with gains included construction, up 800, health care and social assistance, up 800, and leisure and hospitality, up 900.

The largest decline was in professional and business services, which lost 2,300 jobs. Nondurable goods manufacturing lost an estimated 100 jobs statewide, the information sector was down 400 jobs and the education sector was down 600.

The state’s unemployment rate in December was 3.2 percent and in January it dropped to 3.1 percent, near the record low of 3 percent set in 1999. The unemployment rate is down 0.4 percentage points from January 2017 and a full point from January 2016.

“Wisconsin workers are benefitting from a strong labor market, demonstrated by our record low unemployment rate for the month of January, and a new all-time high for number of individuals employed in the state of Wisconsin,” said state Department of Workforce Development secretary Ray Allen.

The number of people classified as unemployed declined to a seasonally adjusted 96,678, the lowest figure since February 2000.

Data released last week showed that despite the steady decline in unemployment the state was 32nd for private sector job growth during the 12-month period ending in September. Many employers have said they’re unable to add jobs because there is a lack of available talent with the right qualifications.

The low unemployment rates appear to be translating to higher wages for those with jobs. Average weekly earnings for all private sector employees were up 3.5 percent from in January compared to January 2017. During all of 2017, weekly earnings averaged a 3.6 percent increase over the prior year, compared to a 1.9 percent increase in 2016.

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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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