Wisconsin inches up in job growth rankings, to 31st

Slight improvement from fourth quarter of 2016

Economic indicators

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

Even as Wisconsin’s unemployment rate fell faster than the U.S. rate, the state only ranked 31st in private sector job growth, according to new data from Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Economic indicators

The state added 27,597 private sector jobs between March 2016 and March 2017, a 1.16 percent increase. Wisconsin ranked fifth in the Midwest during the period behind Minnesota, Michigan, Missouri and Indiana.

The data comes from the latest Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, generally considered the most accurate measure of job growth. It includes the period from January to March when the state unemployment rate declined by 0.7 percentage points compared to a 0.2 point drop for the entire country.

While the declining unemployment rate didn’t translate to the state moving up dramatically in job growth rankings, it does show a slight improvement, up from 33rd in the fourth quarter of 2016. The 1.16 percent increase is also an improvement over a 0.48 percent increase in 2016, which was the worst 12-month period of growth since mid-2010.

The Department of Workforce Development touted data in April showing Wisconsin ranked 15th in the country during the same 12-month period ending in March with a 0.64 percent increase.

In the latest, more accurate data, manufacturing employment was up by 833, an increase of 0.18 percent. The sector ranked 28th in the country for job growth. Average weekly manufacturing wages increased 7.51 percent to $1,131, ranking 21st in the country.

The April data, taken from a survey of roughly 3 percent of state businesses, also showed a worse picture for state job growth with a 0.88 percent increase and a ranking of 38th.

In the latest QCEW data, Nevada grew private sector jobs by 4 percent to take the top spot. Other top gainers included Idaho, Utah, Florida and Georgia.

Wyoming saw its private sector employment decline by 2.62 percent to rank last in the country. A total of seven states saw private sector declines with Alaska, North Dakota, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Iowa ranking ahead of Wyoming.

Wisconsin’s average weekly wages increased by $57 to $931. The 6.52 percent increase ranked 34th in the country and ninth in the Midwest.

The state’s job growth was led by education and health services, which added 5,903 jobs a 1.41 percent increase. Leisure and hospitality increased 5,617 jobs, a 2.17 percent increase.

Overall, the state’s service-providing sectors grew employment 1.22 percent while goods-producing was up 0.94 percent.

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Arthur Thomas
Arthur covers manufacturing for 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.