The Wisconsin jobless rate fell to a record low of 2.8% in December




  • In Business
  • 2022-01-20 23:53:08Z
  • By Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
D&D Products welders and fabricators cut material at the manufacturer in North Prairie last fall. The company, which manufactures aquatic weed cutters and similar machines sold around the world, has dealt with supply-chain issues in manufacturing that are being felt throughout the economy, waiting months for some components they need to build their machines.
D&D Products welders and fabricators cut material at the manufacturer in North Prairie last fall. The company, which manufactures aquatic weed cutters and similar machines sold around the world, has dealt with supply-chain issues in manufacturing that are being felt throughout the economy, waiting months for some components they need to build their machines.  

Wisconsin's unemployment rate fell to a record low 2.8% in December, the state Department of Workforce Development said Thursday.

It edged downward from 3% in November, the previous state record.

Dennis Winters, chief economist for the Department of Workforce Development, said the continued low jobless rate was an indication of a very tight labor market.

"Most everybody that wants a job is on the job," Winters said. "It's good for workers and we're seeing that in wages being bid up. The other side of the sword is businesses are forced to be more competitive in their attempts to hire."

The labor force participation rate was 66.4% in December, 4.5 percentage points higher than the national rate.

"We've got a workforce that's topping out in numbers, and as the economy grows and more people find jobs, the unemployment rate is going to stay low," Winters said.

More: 2022 jobs picture: Businesses will continue to struggle to attract and retain workers as pandemic wears on

More: 12 projects aimed at boosting Wisconsin's workforce get $59.5M in federal funds

The number of jobs in December increased by 6,300 from the month before, driven by 4,800 positions in manufacturing.

A persistent shortage of workers during the COVID-19 pandemic has complicated the economic recovery for manufacturers and their suppliers. Some companies have said their business would grow 50% or more if they could find enough help. Many were struggling to fill jobs even before COVID-19.

The shortage of qualified help is acute. In the top 50 categories of job openings in southeast Wisconsin alone, 167,000 more people would have been employed if those jobs were filled, according to data last fall from the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce.

As part of the remarkable nationwide "Great Resignation," workers have left their jobs by the millions across the country. Reasons include higher pay, less risk of catching COVID-19, issues with childcare or transportation, having the flexibility to work from home and retirements.

The retail, hospitality and entertainment industries were hit hardest during the pandemic and have struggled to find workers as many people decide to take jobs that don't involve direct contact with customers.

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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Wisconsin jobless rate falls to record low 2.8% in December

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