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According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data reported by the Department of Workforce Development, Wisconsin’s unemployment rate reached a historic all-time low of 2.9 percent in February, with more people working than ever before in state history.

Upon receiving the news, Governor Walker released the following statement:

“Our unemployment rate just hit an all-time low of 2.9 percent. Wisconsin is literally working as more people are employed today than ever before in our history. The previous low was 3.0% in May, June, and July of 1999 when Tommy Thompson was our Governor. Things were pretty good then, and they’re great now. This is a big win for Wisconsin!”


Historically Low Unemployment Rate

  • Wisconsin's preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for February 2018 reached a record low of 2.9 percent, down 0.2 percent from January's rate of 3.1 percent. The 2.9 percent unemployment rate is significantly lower than the national rate of 4.1 percent.
  • The previous record-low state unemployment rate of 3.0 percent was reached in May, June, and July 1999 under Governor Tommy Thompson.

Record High Number of People Employed and Active in Wisconsin’s Labor Force

  • Wisconsin reached a record number of people employed in the state, with 3,068,200 people employed, while the state's total civilian labor force also reached a record-setting level, with 3,161,000 people considered actively employed or actively pursuing employment and part of the state's labor force.
  • Wisconsin's labor force participation rate also increased from 68.5 percent in January to 68.6 percent in February 2018.
  • Manufacturers continue to choose Wisconsin as a place to hire and expand their operations, with the state adding a significant 11,800 manufacturing jobs from February 2017 through February 2018.

Positive Economic Indicators in Wisconsin

  • Unemployment claims have dropped across the state, as initial unemployment insurance claims ended 2017 at their lowest level in the last 30 years and continuing unemployment claims ended last year at their lowest level since 1973.
  • Moody's Investor Service recently 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."

DWD Secretary Ray Allen released the following statement about the report:

"Under Governor Walker, Wisconsin workers are experiencing arguably the best labor market in the history of this great state. We have a record-low unemployment rate of 2.9 percent, record numbers of people employed and, buoyed by their confidence in the Wisconsin economy, more people than ever before are considered active and a part of the state's labor force. These historic times underscore the importance of a strong talent development, attraction and retention strategy. Employers in Wisconsin continue to demand workers, and no matter their skill level or barriers to employment, we will ensure that workers have access to best-in-class worker training programs and employers have access to the talent they need to grow, right here in Wisconsin."