Wisconsin unemployment rate reaches another new low

Last updated on May 19th, 2023 at 02:07 pm

Wisconsin’s unemployment rate declined to 2.4% in April marking another record low for the state even as labor force participation increased during the month, according to the latest estimates released by the state Department of Workforce Development.

The state’s unemployment rate was at 2.5% in March, itself a record low, and a year ago, the rate was 2.8%, another previous low point.

However, those lows had come as the state’s labor force participation rate had been trending down. The unemployment rate is based on the total number of people in the labor force, which counts those currently employed or actively looking for a job.

In April, the labor force participation rate increased to a seasonally adjusted 64.8%, up from 64.6% in March. While the addition of 10,500 people to the state’s labor force is a good sign for employers looking to hire, the participation rate is still down more than a half-point from April 2022. The labor force participation rate has been trending down over the past several years.

Wisconsin does outpace the national participation rate of 62.6%, although that figure is up 0.4 percentage points from last year.

The state also added 3,700 private sector jobs in April. The number of jobs on payrolls is based on a survey of employers while the unemployment rate and labor market participation figures are based on surveys of households.

The jobs gains were led by the professional and business services sector, which added 2,400 positions. Nondurable goods manufacturing also added 1,400 positions.

However, those increases were partially offset by a decline of 2,200 positions in health care and social assistance, a drop of 1,000 jobs in wholesale trade, 900 fewer jobs in durable goods manufacturing and the loss of 700 positions in accommodation and food service.

Despite those declines, overall private sector employment is up 41,900 from April 2022, an increase of 1.64%.

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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