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 banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He spent also 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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