Wisconsin’s manufacturing sector rebounding, employment lagging, reports say

Milwaukee’s Manufacturing Index improves for October, while employment remains flat

The economy in metro Milwaukee continues to improve, according to the October business survey by the Institute for Supply Management – Milwaukee.

The Milwaukee Index rose six points last month to 56 – a rating above 50 indicates expansion. New orders received was down to 60, while production remained at 64. Order backlog rose five points to 54, and supplier lead times improved three points to 37.

Capital equipment purchases rose three points to 63. Inventory levels were down four points to 54.

Employment is showing mixed signs in the ISM report – blue collar employment rose four points to 60, and white collar employment dropped three points to 56.

Similarly, the statewide job report for September issued by the Center on Wisconsin Strategy shows the state’s employment in a stagnant zero to negative growth rate.

Between August and September, the state’s private sector lost almost 10,000 jobs, the report states.

Wisconsin lost about 1,600 manufacturing jobs in that time frame, while the construction sector lost about 2,400 jobs. Government added about 400 jobs.

“The cumulative effects of job losses this recession continue to be high,” the COWS report states. “If we assume that job growth every month from now on will be the same as the average monthly job increase after the 1991 recession (5,371 jobs per month), it will take until April 2012 for Wisconsin to regain the jobs it has lost this recession and until August 2014 for the number of jobs to catch up with growth in the labor force.”


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