Madison, Wisconsin (AP) – Wisconsin’s unemployment rate looks better, if only on paper.
A revised report on “misrepresentation” found by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics in Michigan brought the Wisconsin unemployment rate down by half a percent to 3.4% in September, according to the Michigan Department of Human Resources Development. It has been stuck at 3.9% for months.
DWD reported the unemployment rate in October was 3.2%, the lowest in the state since the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.
Scott Hodeck, division chief for DWD’s Office of Economic Advisers, said the drop in unemployment over the past two months is the result of adjusted data and could not be attributed to any single economic event, including the end of the increase in federal unemployment benefits in early September.
“What we saw across the country and in the state data, we didn’t actually see the surge in employment growth associated with the end of extended unemployment benefits, neither in September nor in October data,” Hodeck said.
Republicans argued that the benefit encourages people not to work, only exacerbating the problem of the state’s labor shortage. DWD officials said this was due in large part to a shortage of staff caused by low fertility rates, high retirement rates and low net migration and immigration flows to the state.
“Overall, we don’t have much underutilized capacity,” Hodek said.
A DWD report showed that Wisconsin lost 1,000 non-farm jobs between September and October, but added 2,000 private sector jobs over the same period.