As labor markets tighten across the nation, Wisconsin’s estimated unemployment rate dipped below 3.0% in February for the first time to a record low of 2.9%, while the state also set a record for the total number of people employed.
Thursday’s report from the state Department of Workforce Development amounts to the second bullish headline in recent days on Wisconsin employment prospects. Last week, ManpowerGroup Inc. released its latest outlook survey showing a sharp increase in the number of Wisconsin employers planning to increase hiring in the upcoming April-June quarter — and that Wisconsin’s employment outlook is tied with New Hampshire in leading the nation in its projected job-creation forecast.
“Where I live in Mequon, you can’t go past a restaurant or retail establishment where there isn’t a ‘Help Wanted’ sign in the window,” said Mark Marcon, a Milwaukee-based labor market analyst at the R.W. Baird & Co. investment firm. “When you talk to certain companies, like staffing agencies, they are having a hard time finding people.”