Wisconsin’s job recovery slowed in July as state approaches recovery of half of lost employment

Economic indicators

Last updated on August 24th, 2020 at 01:56 pm

Wisconsin added 25,500 private sector jobs from June to July, an increase of 1.1%, and the unemployment rate dropped from 8.6% to 7%.

Prior to COVID-19 those figures would have represented a decent year of job growth, let alone a single month.

However, in the context of an economic recession brought on by a global pandemic, the monthly numbers released Thursday by the state Department of Workforce Development represent a slowdown in job growth.

Wisconsin added 97,600 jobs in June, a 4.4% growth rate from the previous month, according to revised numbers from DWD. In May, the state added 68,100 jobs for a 3.1% growth rate.

Of course, the state saw a sharp decrease in employment in April, shedding 395,800 jobs as many businesses were forced to close under Gov. Tony Evers Safer-At-Home order. The unemployment rate jumped from 3.1% in March to 13.6% in April. It then declined to 12.1% in May and 8.6% for June.

So far, the state has recovered 191,200, putting Wisconsin around 13,400 jobs away from recovering half of the jobs lost as the pandemic took hold.

July’s job growth slowdown was concentrated in service-providing sectors, which grew just 1.1% for the month after growing 3.1% and 5.1% respectively in May and June.

In particular, the accommodation and food service sector was hit by the slowdown going from 23.7% growth in May and 34.8% in June to just 2.2% for July. Employment in the sector, which included more than 235,000 jobs in March, is still down nearly 60,000 from before the pandemic.

Goods-producing sectors, on the other hand, trended in a more positive direction in July after a slight dip in employment in June.

The construction sector added 2,200 jobs and is now 4,400 jobs from erasing its COVID-19 losses. Employment grew 1.8% for the month, up from 1.2 in June.

Manufacturing employment grew 1.2%, or 5,200 jobs in July after losing jobs in June. The durable goods industry led the way, adding 3,900 jobs or 1.5%.

Nondurable goods, the source of the sectors job losses in June, rebounded to add 1,300 positions, an increase of 0.7%.

Compared to March, durable goods employment is down 19,900 and nondurable goods is down 7,000.

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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.

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