Boots & Sabers

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1517, 21 Dec 20

Wisconsin’s Labor Participation Rate Declines


The state’s labor force lost 23,100 people over the month and the labor force participation rate dropped by a half-point to 66.9%. Unemployment was down by 33,000, but employment was up just 9,900, according to place of residence data released by the Department of Workforce Development.

Private sector employment was also down by 1,000, according to a separate survey of businesses used to track job growth.

The retail trade sector was particularly challenged, losing 5,200 jobs from October to November. It is down 11,400 from this time last year.

The leisure and hospitality sector also lost 2,100 jobs and is now down 74,200 from last year.

There were some bright spots. The manufacturing sector added 4,200 jobs, led by nondurable goods, which added 3,200 positions. Transportation, warehousing and utilities also added 2,200 jobs.

Wisconsin’s dip in labor force participation was among the 15 largest in the country last month. Washington was the worst, dropping 2.6 percentage points.

Wisconsin’s participation rate had dropped from 66.9% at the start of 2020 to a low of 65% in July. It had rebounded since then before dropping in November.


1517, 21 December 2020


  1. dad29

    The leisure and hospitality sector also lost 2,100 jobs and is now down 74,200 from last year.

    That will have repercussions all over the place.  Rentals or housing, car payments/purchases, child-care, and consumption spending (non-food).

    Look for increased stress on landlords, mortgage banks, and brick/mortar retail, which apparently already feels the pinch.

  2. steveegg

    (Un)intended consequences, just like 2008-2014.

  3. steveegg

    I should point out that time frame in the previous comment is national, and cannot be blamed on the seniors and near-seniors (not) retiring, something they’re still not doing.  Blame the prime-age workforce (25-54) for this year’s drop after finally getting back to the pre-Obama rate last year, and the youngsters for not looking for work at all since the Great Recession.

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