Wisconsin unemployment rate ticks up to 3.4 percent

State lost 5,200 private sector jobs in August

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

Wisconsin’s unemployment rate moved higher in August reaching 3.4 percent after bottoming out in May and June.

Eight states saw an increase in their unemployment rate in August and the national rate increased from 4.3 to 4.4 percent.

The state also saw private sector employment decrease by 5,200 and total nonfarm payrolls were down by 8,800, according to place of work data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

A 1,000 job decline in the goods producing sector was spread primarily across construction and manufacturing. Private sector service providing payrolls were down 4,200. Gains in financial activities and educational and health services were offset by losses in professional and business services and leisure and hospitality.

Government employment was down by 3,600. The decline was driven by a drop of 2,000 at the local level and another 1,400 at the state level.

The state’s unemployment rate increased for the second straight month after coming close to an all-time low at 3.1 percent in May and June. The rate had plummeted in the first five months of the year after ending 2016 at 4.1 percent.

Between December and June the state’s total employment, based on place of residence data, had increased by nearly 75,200 and the number of unemployed people decreased by more than 29,700.

In the last two months, however, employment has dropped by almost 11,500 and unemployment increased by 9,000.

The BLS uses two surveys to collect monthly job figures. Place of residence data is based on a survey of 985 households in the state while place of work data is based on a survey of roughly 3.5 percent of state employers.

The place of work data has shown a similar trend with total private sector employment down 5,700 since June and total nonfarm payrolls down 3,000.

Neither monthly survey is considered as accurate as the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, which is based on data from nearly all employers and is released with a six-month delay.

The latest version of the QCEW, released last week, showed Wisconsin ranked 31st in private sector job growth for the 12-month period ending in March.

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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