Wisconsin’s labor market stalled at the start of 2016, losing 200 jobs according to federal data. Job losses were concentrated in the private sector with two – manufacturing (down 400 jobs) and construction (down 1000) – accounting for the entire private sector decline. Public sector growth of 1,200 jobs largely offset the private sector losses. The state’s job base is growing but only slowly. Compared to a year ago, Wisconsin has 27,000 more jobs today — growth of less than 1%. The number of jobs available now is just slightly higher than it was in December 2007, just before the Great Recession. Unemployment held steady at a 4.6%. Low unemployment rates imply greater labor market opportunity. There is some national evidence that those who had dropped out of the labor force are being tempted to rejoin it. Sustained low levels of unemployment make this dynamic more likely.
Wisconsin Job Watch - January 2016 Data Update. COWS, 2016.