Wisconsin unemployment rate ticks up as labor force participation grows

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Last updated on June 17th, 2022 at 02:39 pm

Wisconsin’s unemployment rate ticked up slightly in May from 2.8% to 2.9% as the number of people classified as unemployed increased by 600, according to data released by the state Department of Workforce Development.

The state also added 1,800 private sector jobs and overall employment was up 1,300. Data on job counts comes from a survey of employers while overall employment figures come from a survey of households.

The household data showed 89,900 people classified as unemployed in May, up from 89,300 in April while the overall labor force increased 1,900 to 3,149,200. The shift was enough to push the percentage considered unemployed from 2.837% to 2.855%.

Weekly unemployment claim data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics did show an uptick in unemployment from April to May, even as companies have faced inflation and economic uncertainty. In April, initial unemployment claims averaged around 4,000 per week compared to 3,200 in May.

Continuing unemployment claims averaged around 24,850 in April and roughly 16,600 in May.

The latest unemployment claim data for the week ending June 11 did show higher initial claims at 4,400.

Dennis Winters, chief economist at DWD, attributed the increase to a seasonal blip related to the Memorial Day holiday. He said a similar phenomenon happens around the Fourth of July.

Job growth in May was driven by service sectors with professional and business services adding 2,400 positions, accommodation and food service adding 900 jobs and the other services category adding 1,500 positions

On the goods producing side, the construction sector dropped 1,700 positions and durable goods manufacturing was down 1,500.

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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