Friday, March 24, 2023

Wisconsin jobs at all-time high, unemployment an all-time low.

I keep thinking Wisconsin will see its job growth hit a wall, especially given the sub-3% unemployment rate in the state. But that didn’t happen in February, as jobs keep getting added, and unemployment went down to its lowest level yet.
The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) [on Thursday] released the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) preliminary employment estimates for the month of February 2023, which showed Wisconsin's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to a record low of 2.7%.

In addition, total seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs increased 7,500 over the month of February and 50,300 year-over-year to hit a new record high of 2,997,400. The total jobs number puts the state 3,400 jobs above pre-COVID-19 peaks.
That’s great to hear, especially following recent reports of increased layoffs being announced by state companies in 2023 (which I’ll get back to in a bit).

As the report indicates, Wisconsin now has finally passed the pre-COVID job levels slightly more than 3 years after that peak was hit in January 2020.

The record low unemployment rate of 2.7% seems like a big deal as well, especially with more people coming back into the work force last month. Which makes it all the more absurd that Republicans put an advisory referendum about making “able-bodied, childless adults be required to look for work in order to receive taxpayer-funded benefits.” But then again, that symbolic question is not about reality, and is instead a desperate attempt by WisGOPs to stir up dimwitted rubes for the April election with race-baiting BS (doesn’t feel like it’s working well).

That being said, those affected by those recent layoff announcements don’t seem to be losing their jobs until later this Spring, and the snowy, cold March isn’t going to help in starting seasonal work over the coming weeks. So let’s keep an eye out for both factors in the next couple of jobs reports. But perhaps it’s also true that those losing their jobs are quickly finding work to replace those lost jobs, and allowing for Wisconsin’s total job numbers to stay strong.

And let’s also see if we can finally get over 3 million total jobs in the state – a place we’ve never been to, which is pretty amazing given that we were less than 200,000 jobs away from that when 2000 began.

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