Wisconsin ranks 32nd in private sector job growth, 12th on wages

27,000 jobs added in state for 12 months ending in March

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Private-sector employment in Wisconsin increased 1.12 percent for the 12-month period ending in March, ranking the state 32nd in the nation when it comes to job growth.

Economic indicators

Average weekly wages increased 4.08 percent during the same period. The increase was the 12th largest in the country.

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The new data comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, generally considered a more accurate measure of job growth than monthly estimates based on surveys.

Wisconsin’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell during the period covered by the new data from 3.3 percent to 2.9 percent. Employers have routinely said they are having difficulty finding employees, potentially limiting their ability to add new jobs.

Since March 2016, private sector employment in Wisconsin has increased 2.35 percent, which ranks 30th in the country over that period. The state’s unemployment rate in March 2016 was 4.1 percent.

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March of 2014 was the last time unemployment in the state was above 5 percent during the month. Since then, Wisconsin’s private sector employment is up 5.9 percent, which ranks 31st in the country.

Walworth County had the strongest job growth in southeastern Wisconsin, increasing private sector employment 3.7 percent for the 12 months ending in March 2018. Three other counties saw increases of more than 2 percent including Kenosha at 2.9, Sheboygan at 2.2 and Washington at 2.1 percent.

Racine County was up 1.5 percent and Milwaukee was up 1.1 percent.

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Waukesha County private sector employment was up just 0.8 percent, but the county had the strongest wage growth in the region at 7.4 percent. Ozaukee County saw private sector employment decrease 0.7 percent, but wages were up 5.5 percent.

The northern portion of the state saw some of the strongest job growth with Bayfield County seeing the largest increase at 8.7 percent. Vilas County saw a 6 percent increase.

A total of 16 counties saw decreases in employment, led by Forest County, down 6.1 percent and Vernon County, down 4.1 percent.

Construction fields saw some of the fastest job growth among subsectors with at least 10,000 employees in the state. Construction of buildings employment was up 7.5 percent, followed by specialty trade contractors, up 6.6 percent. Heavy and civil engineering employment was the fifth fastest growing at 5.7 percent.

Manufacturing related fields also saw strong job growth. Merchant wholesalers for nondurable and durable goods saw the third and fourth strongest increases at 6.6 and 5.7 percent respectively.

Fabricated metal products, plastics and rubber products, primary metals and miscellaneous manufacturing were also in the top 10 subsectors for growth.

Eighteen of the 53 subsectors with at least 10,000 employees lost jobs led by sports, hobby, music instrument and book stores, down 6.9 percent and publishing industries, down 4.3 percent.

Retail related sectors and the printing and paper industries also saw job losses.

In metro Milwaukee, which includes Milwaukee, Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington counties, three subsectors added more than 1,000 jobs in the 12-month period. Hospitals added 1,322 jobs, a 3.5 percent increase. Specialty trade contractors added 1,060 jobs, a 5.5 percent increase. Fabricated metal products added 1,023 jobs, a 4.7 percent increase.

Read more economic data reports at the BizTracker page.

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