Total Employment in Wisconsin Remains Below Pre-Pandemic Level

Wisconsin IDEA
Insight • Data • Economics • Analysis

State Recovers 70 Percent of Total Nonfarm Jobs Lost Since Start of Pandemic

At the onset of the pandemic, Wisconsin lost almost 408,000 nonfarm jobs between February and April of 2020. While the state has recovered 70 percent of this loss, total employment remains 4.0 percent or 121,000 jobs below its pre-pandemic level. Employment change since February 2020 has been somewhat uneven by industry. Despite declines in most industries, the three industry sectors of professional, scientific, and technical services; management of companies and enterprises; and transportation, warehousing, and utilities had modest employment gains between February 2020 and August 2021. While Manufacturing, Wisconsin’s largest industry in terms of employment, remains slightly below its pre-pandemic level, it has added over 22,000 jobs in the last year.

Not surprisingly, accommodation and food services and arts, entertainment, and recreation continue to have the largest percentage declines in employment since February 2020. Although these two industries have added jobs over the past year, it remains to be seen how the expiration of enhanced unemployment benefits in September and the continuing transmission of the delta variant will impact future employment in the hospitality sector.

Data Source:  Bureau of Labor Statistics Current Employment Statistics, Seasonally Adjusted.

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