Further Wisconsin job growth expected in 2011

Nearly 26,000 jobs will be added to the state economy in 2011, with the manufacturing, education and health services sectors projected to see the most growth, according to the Wisconsin Department of Revenue’s December 2010 Wisconsin Economic Outlook.

The department report found state job growth in 2010 exceeded expectations by adding nearly 30,000 jobs. Gains will continue into the new year, according to the report.

An increase in exporting is helping the manufacturing industry, while the education and health services sectors’ growth is driven by increased activities of the overall health care and social assistance industries, the report said.

Both of these sectors represent the largest share of growth, said John Koskinen, chief economist and division administrator for the Wisconsin Department of Revenue.

“You’re seeing the big gain for Wisconsin,” he said. “The gain in manufacturing will be 12,000 jobs, and we’ll see another 10,000 or so in the health and education sector. Between those two by themselves, we’ve reached our targets.”

With the economy stabilized, Koskinen also said the state is looking at a one percent job growth this year and another two percent next year.

“We’re at a point where the state rate is below the national average,” Koskinen said. “We’ve been coming back strongly, particularly in our exporting industries. We’re expecting strong growth to continue.”

Bret Mayborne, director of economic research at the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, said he believes job growth is definitive for other sectors, too.

“We’re seeing job growth happening in manufacturing, which is great because of how much the state relies on it,” Mayborne said. “Also in the education and health services, the leisure and hospitality services, and professional and business services sectors, those are the ones to see some growth in 2011.”

Both experts cited a low cost of operation for businesses in Wisconsin as a reason for job creation.

Manufacturing alone accounts for 15.5 percent of the state’s total economic employment, according to the Department of Revenue’s report. Dennis Winters, chief economist for the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, said manufacturing is an especially important part of the state’s economy.

“Manufacturing often leads an economy in and out of recession; what we are now seeing in manufacturing is a positive sign,” Winters said.

The national unemployment rate is currently 9.4 percent, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, while Wisconsin’s is 7.5 percent. The state’s lower unemployment rate is not unusual, Mayborne said.

“Wisconsin traditionally has a lower unemployment rate in the U.S. because the state doesn’t have to have large job growth because our population is growing slower than our state’s labor force,” Mayborne said.

As Wisconsin’s economy continues to stabilize, the job market is expected to grow.

“This is the year we get our footing and come stronger next year,” Koskinen said.

Article by Marissa Evans

Special to the Tribune

Comments are closed