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Scott Walker, Governor
Reginald J. Newson, Secretary

Department of Workforce Development
Secretary's Office

201 E. Washington Avenue
P.O. Box 7946
Madison, WI 53707-7946
Telephone: (608) 266-3131
Fax: (608) 266-1784
Email: sec@dwd.wisconsin.gov

Tuesday, March 24, 2015
CONTACT: DWD Communications, 608-266-2722
On the Web: http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/dwd/news.htm
On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WIWorkforce
On Twitter: @WIWorkforce

Guest Column: Economic Indicators Point to Continuing Job Growth

By Secretary Reggie Newson,
Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development

When I was appointed Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development in 2011, I knew job numbers were a critically important indicator of our state's economic health and that Wisconsin's economy had turned the corner and was creating jobs.

Not only were Wisconsin's job numbers improving, but so were other important indicators of economic growth. Coupled with falling Unemployment Insurance claims and new business formations, the jobs data showed that the state was clearly in a growth mode.

From there our state's economy continued to grow and, today, our Wisconsin comeback remains strong.

Our current unemployment rate of 4.8 percent is at a six-year low while our employment levels are at an all-time high. Our labor force is growing, attesting to the confidence of Wisconsin's workers that there are an increasing number of opportunities before them. Wisconsin's labor force participation rate, at 68.6 percent, consistently outpaces the national average and is one of the highest in the country, demonstrating the state's labor force is willing and able to work.

Our average initial Unemployment Insurance claim numbers are at their lowest point in two decades, we're forming new businesses at pre-recession levels and, last year, we exported a record value of goods. Earlier this month a new Manpower survey reported we have the third brightest jobs outlook in the country for the second quarter of 2015.

The latest preliminary employment statistics put Wisconsin's private sector job gains at 156,100 since December 2010, including February's gain as the best one-month gain in over a decade.

All of these economic indicators show Wisconsin's economy is growing and creating jobs.

This is great news for the thousands of employers that added those jobs, for the tens of thousands of workers who are now employed as a result and can provide for their families, and for the communities across Wisconsin where those employers and workers are located.

Wisconsin's economic trends over the last four years under Governor Walker are in stark contrast to the previous four years when our state lost over 135,000 private sector jobs and the unemployment rate had reached 9.2 percent. The rate was still at 8.1 percent when Governor Walker first took office.

The bottom line is that today our state's economic comeback is continuing, and our state's jobs picture is bright.

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