Wisconsin ranks 33rd for job growth in 2016

State ranking trending up in recent years

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

Wisconsin ranked 33rd in the country last year for private sector job growth even though the 0.47 percent increase was the state’s worst for a 12-month period since mid-2010, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Source: U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics

The country as a whole added nearly 1.6 million private sector jobs between December 2015 and December 2016, a 1.3 percent increase that more than doubled Wisconsin’s pace of job growth.

Wisconsin has typically ranked in the 30s over the last several years and hasn’t been higher than 27th for any 12-month period in the last four years. The state has been trending upward, ending 2013 at 39th, 2014 at 36th and 2015 at 34th.

Gov. Scott Walker’s administration took a longer view of the data, pointing out the state ranks 11th in the country in average weekly wage growth since Walker took office. Department of Workforce Development secretary Ray Allen also pointed out the state has more people working “than ever before” and unemployment is at its lowest point since February 2000.

“It’s important to look at all economic indicators to understand the true picture of Wisconsin’s economy, and the economic indicators overwhelmingly point to stable and steady growth in jobs, wages and the economy over the past six years,” Allen said.

Average weekly wages have increased from $835 to $934 over that six-year period, a 10.6 percent increase that outpaces inflation by about $15.

However, average wages were down from $946 per week at the end of 2015, a 1.27 percent decrease. Wisconsin still ranked 16th in wage growth as every state but Washington saw a decline in 2016.

Democrats seized on the decline in average wages in the state last year and Wisconsin’s continued ranking in the lower half of states, with Senate minority leader Jennifer Shilling calling it “another stinging jobs report.”

“Too many good-paying jobs are leaving Wisconsin as Republicans cut funding from local schools, increase health care costs and ignore our crumbling infrastructure,” said Shilling, D-La Crosse. “How are families supposed to make ends meet when wages are falling and the cost of housing, child care and student loan debt continue to rise? Republican policies that take money away from workers and reward companies for outsourcing jobs are driving our state toward another disastrous economic recession.”

The Badger State was in the middle of the pack within the Midwest, ranking sixth of 12 states. Michigan led the way with a 1.54 percent increase followed by Minnesota and Missouri, up 1.3 and 0.97 percent respectively.

North Dakota was down 4.18 percent, ranking 50th in the country and last in the Midwest. Iowa’s private sector employment increased by just 159 jobs and Nebraska was up just 95 jobs.

Midwest states’ ranking for major Wisconsin employment sectors.

Idaho led the country, up 3.54 percent followed by Florida, Utah, Washington and Nevada, all up around 2.9 percent.

The Oshkosh-Neenah metro area led Wisconsin, increasing private sector employment by 2.05 percent and ranking 111th out of nearly 380 metro areas with data available. The Madison metro area increased employment by 1.42 percent and ranked 155th while the Sheboygan area was up 1.35 percent, ranking 165th.

The Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area, which stretches into Wisconsin, increased employment 1.96 percent and ranked 115th.

The Milwaukee metro area, meanwhile, lost nearly 1,500 jobs. The area’s private sector employment declined 0.19 percent and ranked 280th in the country in 2016.

Among Wisconsin’s largest employment sectors, professional and business services performed the best. The sector, which accounts for 13 percent of private sector employment, was up 1.36 percent, ranking 18th in the country. Trade, transportation and utilities, was up 0.52 percent and ranked 26th in the country. That sector, which covers a number of industries, accounts for roughly 23 percent of employment.

Wisconsin’s manufacturing sector lost nearly 3,800 jobs last year, a 0.81 percent decline that ranked 31st in the country. The sector accounts for almost 19 percent of the state’s private sector employment.

Education and health services employment was up 1.26 percent, adding almost 5,300 jobs, but the sector’s growth ranked 36th in the country.

Read more economic data reports at the BizTracker page.

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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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