Latest state jobs report a mix of good and bad news

Wisconsin added 32,282 private-sector jobs in 2012, a 1.4% increase over 2011, according to the latest government data released by the state Department of Workforce Development. The growth moved Wisconsin up 11 spots in the national rankings: It now ranks 33rd among the 50 states for private-sector job growth, an improvement over September 2012’s rank of 44th. (This latest report revises the September ranking to 41st.)

Wisconsin still lags behind the rest of the nation and most other Midwestern states in the rate of private-sector job creation. Illinois tied Wisconsin with 1.4% growth. Iowa ranked 31st at 1.5% growth; Ohio, 29th (1.6%); Minnesota, 28th (1.7%); Indiana, 15th (2.3%); and Michigan, 11th (2.5%).

There was better news on the wage front. Wisconsin ranked 17th out of 50 states in the pace of private-sector wage growth (5%). The state also led the nation in the growth of state government workers’ wages, which reportedly increased 14.6% in 2012. Wisconsin’s public employees did not share in the gains of their state government counterparts, however.

The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is now at 7%, down from 7.1% in April but unchanged from May 2012. Madison continues to post the state’s lowest unemployment rate among state metro regions, at 5%. Janesville (8%) and Racine (8.4%) had the highest unemployment rates in May.