Wisconsin unemployment tops 100,000 for first time in two years

State's unemployment rate also increased slightly

The number of people considered unemployed in Wisconsin reached 100,700 in September, an increase of 3,900 from August and the first time the seasonally adjusted number reached six figures since September 2017.

Wisconsin’s unemployment rate also increased slightly to 3.2%, remaining well below what is considered full employment.

The labor force participation rate remained unchanged from August at 67.2% but down from 67.6% in September 2018.

The state Department of Workforce Development touted that the unemployment rate remains 0.3 percentage points below the entire country and workforce participation is 4 percentage points higher than the national number.

“September’s labor numbers emphasize the importance that our programming and policies prioritize economic growth for all Wisconsin families and businesses,” said Caleb Frostman, the department’s secretary-designee. “With Wisconsin’s current unemployment rate and the continued workforce shortage, we must ensure all Wisconsinites earn family-supporting wages and benefits. We will continue to enhance our programming to meet the needs of the Wisconsin workforce.”

Wisconsin added 1,900 private sector jobs from August to September and hiring was up by 12,300 or 0.48% from September 2018.

Employment in goods producing industries was down about 600 for the month. A gain of 1,700 jobs in construction was offset by the loss of 2,200 in manufacturing, primarily driven by a drop of 1,600 jobs in nondurable goods industries.

Private service providing employment was up 2,500, as gains of 1,900 in retail trade and 1,000 in health care and social assistance offset the loss of 1,500 jobs in financial activities.

Government employment was up by 1,100 in September, led by the addition of 2,000 local government jobs.

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Arthur Thomas
Arthur covers manufacturing for 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.