Wisconsin’s job growth last year was worst since mid-2010

Private sector employment increased only 0.48 percent in 2016

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

In 2016, Wisconsin had its worst 12-month period of private-sector job growth since July of 2010, according to data released today by the state Department of Workforce Development.

The state added 11,590 jobs from December 2015 to December 2016, a 0.48 percent increase. The last time the state had a lower percentage increase of private sector job growth was the 12 months ending in July 2010. It was the worst calendar year job performance since a 5.05 percent drop in 2009.

The data comes from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, a quarterly data set generally considered the most accurate measure of job growth. It is based on unemployment insurance records from roughly 96 percent of the state’s businesses, unlike monthly surveys based on a much smaller percentage.

In releasing the data, the Department of Workforce Development highlighted the addition of 179,820 private sector jobs added since December 2010. The department also highlighted a 21 percent increase in construction jobs from 2010, although that industry increased just 0.6 percent last year.

“Other recent economic indicators show we’re going strong in 2017 with the unemployment rate reaching a 17-year low of 3.2 percent, more Wisconsinites employed than ever before and announcements of companies such as Haribo and Mills Fleet Farm investing and creating hundreds of additional jobs in Wisconsin,” said DWD Secretary Ray Allen, encouraging employers to offer higher pay to attract and retain workers.

Total wages during the fourth quarter of 2016 were down 0.6 in the private sector, with manufacturing, down 5.3 percent, and information, down 4 percent, experiencing the largest declines.

The state’s manufacturing sector lost 3,776 job in 2016, a 0.8 percent decrease representing the first calendar year decrease for the sector since 54,939 jobs were lost in 2009. Employment in the sector was down year-over-year every month except January in 2016.

The strongest sectors for jobs gains last year came in education and health services, up 5,288 or 1.3 percent; professional and business services, up 4,321 or 1.4 percent; and trade, transportation and utilities, up 2,921 or 0.5 percent.

Total government employment in the state increased by 3,872 or 1 percent.

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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