While manufacturing workers across Wisconsin have seen rising wages over the past several months, those gains have lagged behind other industries in the state, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The average hourly wage for manufacturing production workers in Wisconsin reached $23.44 in April, an increase of $1.40, or 6.4%, from the same time in 2021. Production workers have seen an average year-over-year increase of 5.6% in the first four months of the year, but the average increase across all sectors in the state is 6.8%.
Wages for all manufacturing workers have not seen quite the same level of growth. In April, the average hourly manufacturing wage was $28.95, a 4.9% increase from the prior year. For the first four months of the year, the average increase was 4%.
With Wisconsin’s unemployment at 2.8% and labor force participation among the top 10 in the country, increasing wages is one of the tools employers have to attract employees. Companies are looking to hire, too. There have been more than 200,000 job openings per month in Wisconsin every month for the past year.
In April alone, the average hourly wage for all workers in Wisconsin was up 7.7% from the prior year to $30.
The strongest wage gains in the state have come in the leisure and hospitality sector, where the average wage in April was $17.83 per hour, an 11% or $1.77 increase from the prior year. For the first four months of the year, the sector is averaging a 10.5% increase.
The trade, transportation and utilities sector has also seen strong gains with a $2.37 per hour or 9.7% increase to $26.93 in April. For the year, the sector is averaging an 8.2% year-over-year increase.
Three sectors – financial activities, professional and business services and education and health care – have trended closer to the state average. Professional and business services has averaged a 6.8% increase for the year, financial activities has seen an average increase of 6.7%, and education and health care is up 6.1% an average to state the year.
The construction sector in Wisconsin has averaged a year-over-year increase of 5% in the first four months of 2022, but in April the sector saw a 7.6% increase to $37.30 per hour, a jump of $2.64.
While Wisconsin’s manufacturing workers are seeing gains in average hourly pay, their weekly paychecks are not seeing the same increases as the average weekly hours for production workers in Wisconsin has trended down over the past year.
In the first four months of 2021, production workers averaged 42.2 hours per week. This year, those workers are averaging 40.7 hours per week, including 40.4 hours per week in April.
As a result, the average weekly pay for production workers in Wisconsin is up about 1.9% from $922 to a little under $940.
There has been some pull back in weekly hours across all private sectors, but it has not been as pronounced. In the first four months of 2021, private sector workers in Wisconsin averaged 33.4 hours, compared to 33.2 hours to start this year.
As a result, average weekly wages across all private sectors in the state have increased 6.1% on average for the year from roughly $932 to nearly $988.