Wisconsin Job Watch

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March 24, 2014

The economic recovery continues in Wisconsin, producing a steadily increasing number of jobs in the state. New data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that Wisconsin added 6,200 jobs in January. The consistent growth is clear but not especially rapid. More than six years since the beginning of the recession, Wisconsin is far from the jobs recovery workers need.


Wisconsin’s job deficit now stands at 126,300. (For Job Watch regulars, the decline relative to last month owes mostly to revisions in the entire data series from BLS). Wisconsin still has 26,600 fewer jobs than in 2007 before the Great Recession. Wisconsin’s population has grown since then. Just to keep up with that growth, Wisconsin needs to add another 99,700 jobs. These two numbers added together – 126,300 – account for the current Wisconsin Job Deficit.
Job growth over the course of the recovery has been too slow to close the gap. Too many workers are still waiting to find a job or to have greater security and hours in their current job. Adding 6,200 jobs per month (as we did in January) means that recovering all of the jobs lost since 2007 would take almost two more years.


With some ups and downs, Wisconsin’s unemployment rate hovered around seven percent during the first half of 2013, to finally start moving down in June of last year. The January rate at 6.1 percent is the lowest since November 2008. In terms of unemployment, the Wisconsin trajectory remains on par with the recession of the 1980s. Manufacturing and construction employment, which saw incredible decline after the recession, both remain well below pre-recession levels. Manufacturing has recovered some and added jobs in the last month. Adding 1,200 jobs in manufacturing is good news in the state and makes a clear consistent, albeit slow, growth trajectory. Construction, on the other hand, continues in the doldrums. With 1,600 jobs gained in construction in January, at least there was good news this month. But we don’t yet have clear trend of recovery in that sector.