Bureau of Labor Statistics shows positive job growth in Wisconsin

Wisconsin added 37,500 jobs between March 2011 and 2012, according to the latest quarterly report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Wisconsin’s 1.7 percent growth in the private sector ranks it 38th in the nation. Michigan had an increase of 3.4 percent, Minnesota saw an increase of 2.5 percent and Illinois had an increase of 1.9 percent, while the nation as a whole had an increase of 2.4 percent.

“This increase in job growth is not enough to achieve Gov. Scott Walker’s promise to create 250,00 jobs by 2015,” said Abdur Chowdhury, a Marquette professor and chair of economics.

According to the report, from March 2011 to 2012 Wisconsin lost 9,364 government jobs.  However, at the same time, the state added 12,138 manufacturing jobs and 7,459 jobs in the professional and business sector.

“The state government has emphasized job creation in the manufacturing sector,” Chowdhury said. “However, the performance of this sector in creating jobs has not been encouraging. The state government needs to concentrate its efforts in other areas, such as education and health (care), where we have seen promise.”

Nationwide, the unemployment rate dropped from 8.1 to 7.8 percent, marking the first time the rate has dropped below eight percent since January 2009.

North Dakota led the nation in percentage of jobs gained with 11.21 percent, an increase of 33,155 jobs, with Utah and Texas coming in second and third with gains of 3.77 and 3.7 percent, respectively. Delaware had the least amount of growth in the nation with a job gain of 0.88 percent.

Sarah Graupman, a freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences, had mixed reactions to Wisconsin’s jobs ranking.

“I feel positively about that number, but you don’t want to be ranked 38th in growth,” Graupman said.

Chowdhury said that Marquette students should be following job data to see where career opportunities might lie for them in the future.

“Marquette students who would be graduating in the near future need to closely follow the job market and see in which areas there are demands,” Chowdhury said.

Courtney Hanson, the associate director of Marquette’s Career Services Center, said students seeking employment should stay connected.

“In order for any student to be successful in his or her job search, he or she should be focused and connected,” Hanson said. “Students need to avoid the ‘I’ll take anything’ approach to the job search. Employers want to hire candidates who have had gained transferable skills through volunteering, participation in student organizations, part-time jobs and internships and can speak clearly about the skills and knowledge they will use to contribute to company goals.”