DWD economist highlights lagging jobs in leisure and hospitality

The chief economist for the state Department of Workforce Development says employment in the leisure and hospitality sector is lagging due to fewer people working multiple jobs. 

In a recent media briefing, Dennis Winters noted Wisconsin’s leisure and hospitality jobs remain about 13,300 from the previous peak, or about 95 percent of that pre-pandemic number. 

“We think part of that is because they’re getting higher wages in one particular job and don’t need a second job,” he said. “That could be impacting hiring for those largely part-time jobs in that industry, as we’ve seen.” 

Meanwhile, Winters said construction employment is near the state’s all-time high, which reached around 130,000 workers in 2006. 

“Now we’re looking at about [129,900] so yeah, it’s up there in ranges we’ve seen in peaks,” he said. “And that industry is coming back fast.” 

He said most of those gains are in residential construction and the skilled trades, adding it will likely take a year or two for home supply to catch up with demand. But he said demand has already begun to slip “because of higher interest rates and higher prices — and that will recalibrate somewhere down the road.” 

Winters also said job growth in manufacturing remains strong, pointing to a “movement to onshore” production in various industries due to the pandemic-related supply chain disruptions. 

“What we’re seeing is pretty healthy there,” he said, adding “it all bodes well” for manufacturing in the state. 

Watch the briefing here: https://wiseye.org/2022/07/21/news-conference-dwd-briefing-on-statewide-labor-market-data-for-june-2022/ 

See DWD’s latest report on unemployment and jobs in the state: https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/press/unemployment/2022/220721-june-state.pdf 

–By Alex Moe