The brutal impact of the Great Recession has cast a very long shadow in the state with the total Wisconsin job count falling hard and only slowly moving up. Finally, after nearly seven years, in November 2014, the Wisconsin jobs count exceeded the benchmark set in December 2007. In December, the upward trend continued. The national economy met this benchmark in the summer, and now data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics makes it clear that Wisconsin is above the 2007 level as well. In December 2014, the state had 20,500 more jobs than in December 2007.
This does not mean, however, that the labor market feels like it did in 2007. The working age population of the state keeps growing and our labor market has not kept up with the growth. Wisconsin needs another 95,500 jobs to keep up with population. There is still a significant jobs deficit and need for continued job growth.
Breaking down this trend, the data show that the latest increase was driven by jobs added in the private sector. While private sector jobs increased 7,600 in December, the public sector lost nearly 2,500 jobs, which results in the net 5,100 jobs added last month. Even if we continue to post job growth of around 5,000 per month, it will take another year and a half to finally overcome our job deficit.