WisBusiness: the Podcast with Laura Dresser of COWS

This week’s episode of “WisBusiness: the Podcast” is with Laura Dresser, associate director of UW-Madison’s COWS policy research center. 

She discusses findings from the latest State of Working Wisconsin report, which includes data on employment, wages and labor organizing in the state. 

“Workers see that this is a moment where they have some power, they have power to leave their jobs and find better jobs and we see a lot of evidence that workers are doing that,” she said, noting wage increases detailed in the report illustrate this trend. 

Dresser shares her perspective on demographic trends affecting the workforce, as more workers age out than the number joining the labor market. This issue is particularly significant in rural parts of Wisconsin, the report notes. 

“I think everybody sees that the labor markets are tight, and this is something that demographers have been watching in Wisconsin for a long time,” she said. “But it’s really evident right now because of the strength of the overall economy.” 

While the working age population is growing in certain areas, such as Madison, the number of “prime age” workers in much of northern Wisconsin continues to shrink. 

“Over the last 10 years, we have 150,000 workers fewer in prime ages, and all that loss … is in those counties away from the deeply urban counties,” she said. 

Listen to the podcast below, sponsored by UW-Madison:

See the report: https://workingwi.org/