Wisconsin wage growth had a strong finish to 2019

Economic indicators

Last updated on February 10th, 2020 at 12:06 pm

A slow start to the year held down Wisconsin’s average wage growth in 2019, but the state finished the year by averaging more than 3% growth during the fourth quarter in most industries.

In December, the average hourly wage for private sector employees in the state was $27.10, up from $26.19 in December 2018, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Wisconsin averaged year-over-year wage growth of 1.9% for all of 2019, a figure that ranks 43rd in the country.

In the fourth quarter, however, Wisconsin averaged 3.6% wage growth, good enough to rank 14th in the country.

The wage gains come amidst sluggish job growth for the state. Private sector employment increased just 0.33% from December 2018 to December 2019, according to BLS data. The state also had a strong year of wage growth in 2018, averaging 4.9% growth for the year.

Goods producing sectors led Wisconsin’s wage growth to end 2019, averaging a 4.6% increase in hourly wages. The manufacturing sector averaged a 4.5% increase while the construction sector averaged a 3.2% increase.

Service providing sectors also saw strong growth, up 3.6% on average in the fourth quarter. The professional business service sector led the way with an average of 6.8%. Leisure and hospitality was up 3.9%, trade, transportation and utilities averaged a 3.5% increase, and education and health services averaged a 2.4% increase.

Financial activities was the only sector to average a year-over-year decrease in the fourth quarter, down 1%.

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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.