Across the U.S., the manufacturing industry has made a significant comeback that's allowed companies to start hiring en masse once again. Some parts of the country have been able to catch the wave of recovery more than others, allowing for more robust growth in the sector, and that certainly applies to Wisconsin.
The latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that at the end of August, only one state had added more manufacturing jobs than Wisconsin in the previous 12 months, and the Badger State ranked first in job growth over the previous quarter, according to the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. Overall, manufacturers in the state added some 22,500 jobs on an annual basis through the end of August, as well as about 7,500 over the quarter.
"Wisconsin's economy is adding more manufacturing jobs than all neighboring states and our labor force participation rate ranks in the top 5 of all 50 states," Secretary Allen said. "This news follows yesterday's report that Wisconsin now has the most total non-farm jobs in state history. Wisconsin's business-friendly climate and commitment to develop our world-class workforce will keep us positioned win the 21st century."
This all comes as Wisconsin has a massive labor force participation rate of nearly 69 percent - fifth-highest in the country - and an unemployment rate of just 3 percent, the report said.
A big driver
It should come as no surprise to those within the industry that Wisconsin is taking such big steps forward when it comes to creating and filling manufacturing jobs, because the state's deal to open a massive Foxconn plant worth $10 billion was intended to create thousands of jobs, according to the Milwaukee Business Journal. Part of that effort is to hold 20 job fairs in 13 different states specifically targeted at veterans, from which the company plans to hire some 3,000 former service members to work at the plant.
That will make up a significant portion of the company's entire workforce at the plant, which will be about 13,000 when the facility is fully operational, the report said. The job fairs will be completed by mid-December in states across the U.S., not just those near Wisconsin.
Outreach a big part of the effort
Meanwhile, many manufacturers in the state - who are now competing with Foxconn for well-trained factory workers - are also trying to boost their standing in the industry as demand grows, according to the Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter. In Manitowoc County, a number of factories are opening their doors to the general public in early October as a means of educating people about what goes on there and potentially encouraging them to seek careers in the industry.
When companies are trying to both attract and retain top talent in the face of growing competition for factory workers, perhaps the most important thing for them to do is make sure their salary and benefits offerings go above and beyond local standards. That, in turn, will help companies gain a stronger foothold as the industry continues to ramp up in Wisconsin and elsewhere.
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