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Wisconsin's unemployment rate reaches record low, but many businesses still need more workers

WI Unemployment Rate
State of Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development
Wisconsin’s unemployment rate fell to a record low of 2.8 percent in December.

Wisconsin’s unemployment rate fell to a record low of 2.8 percent in December.

The number of nonfarm jobs and private sector jobs both increased in the state, largely driven by an increase in jobs in the manufacturing sector.

Regional economist Mitchell Rupp says this demonstrates the strength of the state’s economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The declining rates are partially attributed to the abundance of employment opportunities stemming from economic growth, increased levels of higher educational attainment rates, and an aging population and retirements,” he says.

Rupp says low unemployment rates mean workers have an easier time finding work.

However, businesses looking to hire more staff are in for a challenge.

These low rates mean that the labor market is even tighter as the pool of available workers to hire from is even smaller,” Rupp says. “Additionally, some businesses will experience increased levels of turnover as workers have more options and choice in who they want to work for.”

Looking forward, Rupp says staffing issues will likely continue to be a problem as Baby Boomers leave the workforce at the same time new jobs are created.

Erin Gottsacker joined WXPR in December 2020. As a Morning Edition host and reporter, Erin reports on the issues that matter most in the Northwoods.