State adds 4,000 jobs in February

For the second consecutive month, Wisconsin added private-sector jobs, as the state's unemployment rate remained at 6.9 in February, according to preliminary data from the state Department of Workforce Development.

The state added 4,000 jobs last month, and the DWD also said revised January figures indicated that 13,800 private-sector jobs were reported in January, which is lower than the 15,700 jobs originally reported. The data is provided by the Bureau of Labor statistics.

In February, the industries that reported the highest gains were education and health care services (+2,500), construction (+2,100), professional and business services (+1,400), and manufacturing (+600). Among the industries losing jobs were retail (-1,600) and hospitality (-800).

In addition, the state added 4,300 government jobs in February, raising the total nonfarm jobs gains to 8,300 for the month. Most of the gains in the government sector came in state agencies.

Preliminary data has to be accepted with some caution, as preliminary jobs data can be imprecise. That dynamic was underscored by the wild variance in 2011 monthly preliminary and adjusted data. In June of 2011, for example, preliminary data showed that 11,000 new jobs were created, but that was later revised to indicate that 9,000 jobs were lost.

Based on February's data, the state's employment picture compares favorably to that of neighboring states and to the national unemployment rate, which stands at 8.3%.