MADISON – The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) today released the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) revisions for September and preliminary estimates for October covering employment and job statistics for the state. The data showed that Wisconsin's unemployment rate remained at 3 percent in October, marking the 9th straight month that Wisconsin unemployment rate was at or below 3 percent, a state record. Wisconsin also added a statistically significant 32,000 private-sector jobs from October 2017 to October 2018. The state also added a significant 20,000 manufacturing jobs over the same time period.


In brief, seasonally adjusted estimates show:


  • Place of Residence Data: Wisconsin's preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in October remained unchanged at 3 percent. This was the 9th straight month that the state's unemployment rate stood at 3 percent or less. Earlier in 2018, Wisconsin's achieved its lowest unemployment rate in the history of the state, 2.8 percent. Wisconsin's labor force participation rate was 68.4 percent, more than five percentage points higher than the national rate of 62.9 percent.


  • Place of Work Data: From October 2017 to October 2018, Wisconsin added 32,000 private-sector jobs and 20,000 manufacturing jobs.  Both increases were deemed as statistically significant by BLS. Since 2010, Wisconsin has added 53,700 manufacturing jobs and 32,400 construction jobs. 


"Wisconsin's employment situation continues to create more and more opportunities for Wisconsin workers, and with roughly 100,000 available jobs on the state's website, DWD stands ready to help anyone who is still looking for work, find not only work, but a rewarding career," DWD Secretary Ray Allen said. "With an unemployment rate of 3 percent, the 9th straight month the state's unemployment rate has remained at or below the 3 percent threshold, there is no better time to be a job seeker in Wisconsin."


The BLS uses three data sets to measure employment and unemployment:


  • Current Employment Statistics (CES): Compiled from a monthly survey sent to about 5,500 employers (3.5 percent of Wisconsin employers). CES data has been shown to be subject to significant revision.
  • Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS): Compiled from a monthly survey of 985 households and unemployment insurance claims. Measures the labor force, employment, unemployment, and the unemployment rate.
  • Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW): Compiled on a quarterly basis from Unemployment Insurance records from some 96 percent of Wisconsin business establishments. Considered by most economists to be the most accurate measure of jobs, the QCEW includes data from almost all employers in Wisconsin.


Other indicators of the strength of Wisconsin's economy include:


  • Initial UI claims ended 2017 at their lowest level in the last 30 years.
  • Continuing unemployment claims ended 2017 at their lowest level since 1973.
  • Moody's Investor Service upgraded the state's credit rating, noting that "(T)he stable outlook reflects the expectation that the state will experience moderate economic growth and will continue its prudent fiscal management practices."


Today's full report can be viewed on