Wisconsin lost 2,800 private sector jobs in August and the state’s unemployment rate ticked up to 3.1%, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The seasonally adjusted August job numbers for the state are a departure from the national data which showed the country adding 308,000 private sector jobs in August.
Wisconsin does have a lower unemployment rate than the country as a whole, which is at 3.7%. The state’s labor force participation is also higher than the country at 65.9% compared to 62.4%.
However, Wisconsin’s labor force participation declined 0.3 percentage points in August and is down 0.7 points compared to the same time in 2021. The U.S. participation rate, on the other hand, is up seven-tenths over that period.
Wisconsin did add 1,200 jobs in durable goods manufacturing, but a loss of 800 positions in nondurable goods offset much of the gain. Wholesale and retail trade also combined to add 1,300 positions.
A number of sectors contributed to the down month, led by accommodation and food service, which lost 3,600 positions. Health care and social assistance, administrative support and waste management, and information all shed 1,200 jobs respectively.
The August figures leave Wisconsin’s private sector job totals down by 39,800 compared to immediately before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Still down 1.54% compared to February 2020, Wisconsin’s recovery ranks 37th in the country.
Perhaps more concerning, the state’s recovery ranked 23rd as of August 2021 when the job total was still down 3.11% from pre-pandemic levels.
Wisconsin has averaged year-over-year job growth of 2% over the past 12 months, which rank 50th out of all states and Washington D.C. Job growth has slowed this summer as the state has averaged a 1.6% year-over-year increase which also ranks 50th.
Average hourly wages in Wisconsin have pushed higher, reaching $29.72 in August, up 5.1% from the same time last year. However, the state has seen a slowdown in wage growth which peaked with an 8.1% year-over-year increase in May and was above 6% in June and July.
For the past 12 months, the state has averaged a 5.85% year-over-year increase in wages, which ranks 20th in the country. The past three months have averaged a 5.96% increase, which ranks 19th.