“Unemployment” by Philippe Lhote picturing a mural on an abandoned factory in Völklingen, Germany CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Wisconsin unemployment rate leveled out at 3.8% in March, the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) reported Thursday, but still higher than the state’s pre-pandemic rate a year ago.
While the state’s March jobless rate was well below the national rate of 6%, it was unchanged from February, evidence of a slowing recovery in the battle to come back from the depths of the COVID-19-induced downturn.
In March 2020, just before the widespread layoffs that the pandemic triggered, Wisconsin’s unemployment rate was 3.2%.
Wisconsin employers reported 129,000 fewer jobs in March 2021 compared with March 2020, including a deficit of 98,300 jobs in the private sector. Half of the shortfall was in the leisure and hospitality sector, including restaurants, recreation and entertainment, where there were 47,600 fewer positions than a year ago. Education and health care had 18,600 fewer jobs, DWD reported.
Manufacturing in durable goods — machinery, automobiles and appliances among other products — was down 10,400 jobs compared with March 2020, but an increase of 3,700 jobs in nondurable goods manufacturing offset some of the loss for the sector as a whole.
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