Report: Wisconsin lost manufacturing jobs in 2016

Associated Press

June 7, 2017

MILWAUKEE Wisconsin was among 28 states losing manufacturing jobs in 2016 and the state continues to trail the national rate of overall job creation, according to new figures released Wednesday by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Wisconsin lost nearly 3,800 manufacturing jobs from December 2015 to December 2016, a decrease of nearly 1 percent, according to the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wage Data. Wisconsin's decline was far steeper than the national average in the factory sector, which was essentially flat in 2016, a Milwaukee newspaper reported.

Wisconsin gained more than 11,500 private-sector jobs in 2016, an increase of 0.5 percent. That ranks Wisconsin 33rd among the 50 states for that period. The figures show the United States created private-sector jobs at a rate of 1.3 percent in the latest 12-month period, more than double Wisconsin's increase.

Wisconsin has trailed the national rate of overall job creation since July 2011. Among Midwestern peer states, Wisconsin ranked behind Michigan, Minnesota, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Ohio in overall job growth and ahead of Illinois and Iowa, according to the latest figures.

The 2016 figures were the worst for Wisconsin since the current expansion began after the severe 2008 recession and were the worst of the six years since Republican Gov. Scott Walker took office in 2011.

Walker's administration touted Wisconsin's unemployment rate of 3.2 percent in April 2017, the lowest since February 2000.

"It's important to look at all economic indicators to understand the true picture of Wisconsin's economy, and the economic indicators overwhelmingly point to stable and steady growth in jobs, wages and the economy over the past six years," Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Secretary Ray Allen said in a statement Wednesday.

But Democratic legislative leaders seized on the report to criticize Walker, who is up for re-election next year.

"I don't understand how Walker and the Republican legislature can look at these facts and praise each other for their successes. It's time for a bold plan to jumpstart the economy," Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca said in a news release.