Gov. Tony Evers last week celebrated the state's continued strong economic standing as the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) released the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data showing the state's preliminary unemployment rate tied for a record-low 3% in November. This is down 0.2 percentage points from October's rate of 3.2% and tied with the previous record-low 3% unemployment rate in November 2018.

Wisconsin's total nonfarm jobs increased by 10,200 in November 2021 when compared to October 2021 while Wisconsin's private-sector jobs increased by 12,300 month-over-month. Industry sectors contributing to the strong job growth over the past year include manufacturing, with a year-over-year employment increase of 19,300 jobs; transportation, warehousing and utilities up 7,200 jobs year-over-year; and leisure and hospitality up 35,800 year-over-year.

“Today's Jobs report illustrates the resilience of our Wisconsin employers, the productivity of our labor force, and the strength of Wisconsin's economic position moving forward,” said Gov. Evers. “Folks, this is great news and it's exactly why we're going to continue to build on our work to bolster Wisconsin's workforce and address the labor challenges our communities are facing by reducing barriers to employment and investing in long-term innovative solutions to attract and retain talented, skilled workers in our state.”

Over the past year, Wisconsin has maintained a labor force participation rate among the top 10 in the nation. In recent months, the Midwest as a region also has maintained the highest labor force participation rate in the nation, meaning Wisconsin's surrounding states also face a shortage of workers.

Among the major initiatives to support innovative, statewide solutions to workforce challenges is the Workforce Innovation Grant program, with 12 projects throughout the state aimed at developing long-term solutions to Wisconsin's workforce challenges. Gov. Evers directed $100 million for the Workforce Innovation Grant program announced earlier this year. The 12 projects announced this week will receive up to $59.5 million in grants through the first round of the Workforce Innovation Grant Program.

“While Wisconsin is not alone in facing these labor market challenges, our strategic responses including the unprecedented investment in workforce development by the Evers administration will support the competitiveness of our employers while connecting underutilized talent pools and underserved communities with new job opportunities,” said DWD Secretary-designee Amy Pechacek. “We view this as a talent traction strategy that builds on existing DWD programs to help people hit the ground running toward a new career or a family supporting job while helping Wisconsin businesses thrive.”

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