Have Massive Layoffs Relieved Labor Force Worries?
The Short Answer is…Not Really.

“With Covid-19 related layoffs in the market I can certainly take labor force issues off my plate of worries…” Not so fast, my friend. Massive layoffs certainly occurred and continue in some market segments, but nationwide, initial jobless claims have been trending downward since April and online job postings recently rose 18% above their pre-Covid average. In the past 30 days alone, there have been 3,988 unique job postings in Washington County. Check out the link here for the full article.

EDWC has partnered with EMSI, the leading provider of labor force data in the country to serve the labor force data analytics needs of Washington County, and the most recent data shows a steadily declining labor force participation rate in our county.

State of Washington County Economy “COVID Effect” – Labor Participation

COVID-19: Impact on Washington Co. Labor Market

Site Selection and Data Analytics

EMSI data shows us that from 2015-2020, jobs increased by 6.4% in Washington County, from 59,183 to 62,954. This change outpaced the national growth rate of 6.2% by 0.2%. As the number of jobs increased, the labor force participation rate decreased from 69.5%-67.2%. Compounding the issue, our future workforce (15-19-year-old) has remained flat at 6% of the population in Washington County over the past 10 years. Neighboring counties Dodge and Ozaukee, from which many of our employers, recruit had a 7% decline as a percentage of total population, for that age category since 2010. Milwaukee’s decline is even larger for that age group coming in at about an 11% decline during the same time period.

Wisconsin’s unemployment rates, although higher than pre-Covid-19 levels continue to decline. “Wisconsin’s unemployment rate for September was 5.4 percent, down from August’s revised rate of 6.3 percent.”


Now is the time to focus on workforce attraction and retention by understanding your labor force, examining your recruiting strategy and building retention programs.  EDWC can help you navigate the workforce of Washington County. Get in touch with Andrew Haass, Director of Business Development to start the conversation.

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COVID-19: Impact on Washington Co. Labor Market
About the AuthorDan Anhalt
Senior Director, Consultative Services
An industry veteran of over 36 years in roles within both the private and public sector, Dan brings a variety of knowledge in the areas organizational change, finance, economic development, organizational development strategic planning and human resources.