Wisconsin added 13,700 private-sector jobs in September, a 0.58% increase that lags behind the U.S. growth rate for the third straight month, according to data released by the state Department of Workforce Development.
The state did see its unemployment rate drop 0.9 percentage points to 5.4%. Labor force participation also increased 1.7 percentage points to 67.3%.
The state’s unemployment rate remains lower than the U.S. unemployment rate, which was down a half-point to 7.9% in September.
Still, Wisconsin’s job recovery showed continued signs of slowing after a sharp initial rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic and related economic fallout.
Wisconsin’s unemployment dropped nearly 15.5% from March to April as the pandemic and shutdown orders set in, but it rebounded with 3.14% and 4.37% growth in May and June. Those figures both exceeded the national private sector growth rate.
But in July, Wisconsin’s job growth slowed to 1.05% and dropped to 0.83% in August before clocking in at 0.58% last month. The U.S. has slowed down too, but at slightly higher rates of 1.31%, 0.87% and 0.74% respectively.
Wisconsin has added around 223,400 jobs since April but still needs to add another 172,400 to return to March’s pre-pandemic level.
Two sectors made particularly strong contributions to the state’s September private-sector job growth.
Accommodation and food service added 7,200 jobs, but remains down by 53,100 compared to the same time last year.
Durable goods manufacturing added 3,700 jobs but is still down 17,100 from September 2019.
A third sector, arts, entertainment and recreation, added 2,100 positions and is down 11,700 from last year.
On the other hand, the educational services sector lost 6,100 jobs in September and is now down by 10,100 compared to 2019.