Last fall we looked at the rising number of online job postings, the increase in remote work opportunities and the decline of the unemployment rate in Wisconsin from 6.3% in August to 5.4% in October. Well, the unemployment rate for the state of Wisconsin has now declined to 3.9%, without the labor participation rate rising dramatically (https://jobcenterofwisconsin.com/wisconomy/pub/whatsnew and Emsi).
For Washington County that labor participation rate has remained 65-66 percent of the total population in Washington County through the end of February of 2021. Remote work continues for those occupations where it makes sense. For example, Advocate/Aurora recently announced that it will continue having 12,000 of its 75,000 employees work from remote indefinitely. https://www.wisn.com/article/advocate-aurora-keeping-12000-employees-on-remote-work-assignment/36506541#
Labor Market Participation Rates in Washington County Wisconsin Since 2016 (Emsi)
In addition, we continue to hear from employers about their concerns that portions of the labor force are not yet reentering the post-covid workforce under the current unemployment benefits structure, which is scheduled to expire in early September. Combine this with the continued aging of Washington County’s population, as seen in the data below, (from our partners at Emsi) and the labor market challenges we currently face are continuing. Wisconsin’s population is projected to rank 39th in percentage of population growth rates from 1995 through 2025.
Those are a lot of moving parts within the workforce!
The great news is the economies in Wisconsin and Washington County continue to grow. Our workforce needs to continue to be an area of focus for all of us. Competition for labor is causing us to see increases in wages around the county which can contribute to wage push inflationary pressures.
Understanding the make-up and wage structure of the workforce in your recruitment area, knowing why employees joined you in the first place and what makes them stay is critical to that growth and has been a focus of EDWC through its workforce attraction and retention consulting.
Contact Andrew Haass, Director of Business Development for more information.