Brief

Jobs, unemployment hold steady in June, but growth is behind for the season

By: - July 22, 2022 6:00 am

Leisure and hospitality job growth fell behind in Wisconsin in June, according to the Department of Workforce Development. (Timothy Barlin | Unsplash)

Wisconsin’s jobs picture largely held steady in June, with the number of jobs up by about 1.5% from a year ago, but with slower job growth between May and June than is typical for this time of year, the state labor department reported Thursday.

“Jobs were up, but not as much as we normally would have expected” in June compared with May, said Dennis Winters, chief economist for the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) in an online briefing Thursday. 

Overall, the total number of Wisconsin jobs recorded in June was off by 1,800 compared with May, according to the DWD’s monthly jobs report. The state recorded more than 2.9 million nonfarm jobs in June, still 45,100 more than a year ago. 

Construction, manufacturing, professional services and health care all increased employment in June, Winters said.

Jobs are counted in a monthly census of employers conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The raw data showed that the total number of Wisconsin jobs was higher in June than May. The overall slight decline in jobs showed up after routine calculations to account for ups and downs in employment by season.

“Most industries have some seasonality in them,” Winters said. The construction industry and leisure and hospitality experience hiring booms in summer, for example. Economists who study employment trends use seasonal adjustment to smooth out those changes so that from one month to the next, “we can tell if things are moving against what normal trends would be.”

Wisconsin’s unemployment rate remained at 2.9% in June, according to DWD, a near-low. Some 66.4% of state residents were working or looking for work, still more than four percentage points ahead of the national labor force participation rate.

The leisure and hospitality industry gained jobs in raw numbers, but after seasonal adjustment saw a decline because the increase was less than what would have been expected, Winters said.

Several factors likely dampened hiring, from the difficulty that restaurants, bars and other leisure and hospitality businesses have had in hiring people to the persistence of COVID-19. 

According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS), more than 1,000 state residents per day have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since early May without any significant decrease in cases. On any given day in that period, more than 400 people in the state were in the hospital with the illness.

“These constant waves [of COVID-19] are having less and less effect on the economy as a whole, domestically,” Winters said. The pandemic’s impact globally is less certain, he added; the possibility remains of future supply chain disruptions if new waves in other countries lead ports to shut down or otherwise interrupt shipments to the U.S.

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Erik Gunn
Erik Gunn

Deputy Editor Erik Gunn reports and writes on work and the economy, health policy and related subjects, for the Wisconsin Examiner. He spent 24 years as a freelance writer for Milwaukee Magazine, Isthmus, The Progressive, BNA Inc., and other publications, winning awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, beat coverage, business writing, and commentary. An East Coast native, he previously covered labor for The Milwaukee Journal after reporting for newspapers in upstate New York and northern Illinois. He's a graduate of Beloit College (English Comp.) and the Columbia School of Journalism. Off hours he is the Examiner's resident Springsteen and Jackson Browne fanboy and model railroad nerd.

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