Wisconsin Q2, 2019 Employment Statistics

  • 180,953 employers, up 3.7% from 174,441
  • 2,906,440 employees, up 0.4% from 2,893,105
  • $940 average weekly wage, up 4.1% from $903
  • The average weekly wage is 14.2% below the national average
  • The cost of living is 2.7% below the national average

Employer & Employee Growth

In the last year, the number of employers in the state increased by 6,512, which is an increase of 3.7%. The number of employees in Wisconsin increased by 13,335, an increase of 0.4%. During this same period, the average weekly wage increased by $37, an increase of 4.1%.

The number of private employers increased since last years' Q1. The number of private businesses increased by 6,426 or 3.8%. Growth in private businesses in Wisconsin grew faster than the national average of 2.9%. The number of employees in these businesses increased since last years' Q1, increasing by 14,377 or 0.6%. The growth in employees of private businesses in Wisconsin was slower than the national average of 1.4%.

The average weekly wage of employees of private businesses increased since last years' Q1. The averge weekly wage increased by $33 or 3.7%. Growth in average weekly wage of employees of private businesses in Wisconsin grew slower than the national average of 3.8%.


Leading Sectors

Businesses by Sector

The sector with the greatest number of businesses in the state is Healthcare with 15.5% of the businesses in the state. The number of businesses in this sector increased by 7.0%. Retail trade (9.8%), which increased by 0.9% and Professional services (9.5%), which increased by 11.0%, round out the 3 largest sectors.

Table: Sectors by Year-over-Year Qtly Business Change %
SectorChange Biz% Change
Professional services1,70311.0%
Educational services1177.4%
Healthcare1,8307.0%
Waste services5516.4%
Information1456.3%
Arts and entertainment1485.7%
Real estate and rental2735.5%
Transport and warehousing2955.4%
Company management725.0%
Construction6394.3%
Wholesale trade4913.8%
Finance and insurance2312.6%
Accommodation and food services3432.4%
Manufacturing1221.3%
Mining and oil extraction21.1%
Utilities31.0%
Other services1220.9%
Retail trade1520.9%
Agriculture and forestry100.4%


Employees by Sector

The sector with the greatest number of employees in the state is Manufacturing with 16.7% of the employees in the state, had an increase in employees of 2.2% in the last year. Healthcare (13.9%), increased by 1.4% and Retail trade (10.2%), decreased by 2.3%, round out the top 3 sectors.

Table: Sectors by Year-over-Year Qtly Employee Change %
SectorEmployee Change% Change
Arts and entertainment2,6116.1%
Educational services1,2283.4%
Transport and warehousing3,0723.1%
Professional services2,8652.6%
Manufacturing10,3202.2%
Construction2,1861.8%
Real estate and rental4251.6%
Healthcare5,3841.4%
Finance and insurance1,2051.0%
Accommodation and food services2,2010.9%
Other services4400.5%
Information-148-0.3%
Waste services-2,499-1.7%
Agriculture and forestry-508-1.7%
Retail trade-7,039-2.3%
Company management-2,116-3.1%
Wholesale trade-3,944-3.1%
Utilities-326-3.5%
Mining and oil extraction-541-12.9%


Average Weekly Wage by Sector

The sector that pays their employees the highest is Utilities paying $1,903per week compared with the state average of $931. Weekly wages in this sector rose by $39 or 2.1%. Company management ($1,853), rose by $96 or 5.5% and Information ($1,530) increased by $159 or 11.6% round out the 3 largest sectors.

Table: Sectors by Year-over-Year Weekly Wage Change %
SectorWage ChangeChange %
Information$15911.6%
Arts and entertainment$367.0%
Company management$965.5%
Professional services$614.6%
Other services$244.2%
Finance and insurance$554.1%
Accommodation and food services$124.0%
Real estate and rental$324.0%
Retail trade$203.8%
Agriculture and forestry$233.5%
Wholesale trade$433.5%
Construction$383.4%
Waste services$213.4%
Healthcare$252.7%
Manufacturing$262.4%
Utilities$392.1%
Transport and warehousing$161.9%
Educational services$131.3%
Mining and oil extraction$30.2%


Leading Industries

Businesses by Industry

Each broad sector is made up of specific industries. In Wisconsin. the industry with the most businesses is Services for the elderly and disabled with 8.1% of the businesses in the state (with 14,694 employing 44,760 workers). The Services for the elderly and disabled industry had 1,575 more businesses, an increase of 12.0% in the last year. Restaurants and other eating places (5.1% of businesses) added 211 businesses, an increase of 2.3% and Computer systems design and related services (2.6% of businesses) added 738 businesses, an increase of 18.9% round out the 3 industries with the most businesses.

Table: Top 7 Industries by Business Change %
IndustryBusiness Chg% Change
Cut and sew apparel contractors583.3%
Historical sites233.3%
Monetary authorities - central bank233.3%
Research and development in the physical engineering and life sciences6827.8%
All other information services426.7%
All other ambulatory health care services4025.8%
Tobacco manufacturing125.0%


Table: Top 7 Industries by Business Change #
IndustryBusiness Chg% Change
Services for the elderly and disabled1,57512.0%
Computer systems design and related services73818.9%
Management consulting services36515.4%
Engineering services25323.0%
Restaurants and other eating places2112.3%
Offices of real estate agents and brokers18614.2%
Residential building construction1795.7%


Employees by Industry

Restaurants and other eating places (5.1% of employees) added 211 employees, an increase of 2.3% and Computer systems design and related services (2.6% ofemployees) added 738 employees, an increase of 18.9% round out the 3 industries with the most employees.

Table: Top 7 Industries by Employee Change %
IndustryEmp Chg% Change
Credit bureaus80225.8%
Luggage and leather goods stores5256.9%
Promoters with facilities1,06953.0%
Book and periodical merchant wholesalers18142.9%
Postal service1135.5%
Facilities support services20334.5%
Offices of mental health practitioners84332.3%


Table: Top 7 Industries by Employee Change #
IndustryEmp Chg% Change
Dairy product except frozen manufacturing4,87024.3%
General medical and surgical hospitals2,0962.0%
Services for the elderly and disabled1,4453.3%
General warehousing and storage1,2957.4%
Promoters with facilities1,06953.0%
Electrical equipment manufacturing8726.1%
Offices of mental health practitioners84332.3%


Average Weekly Wage by Industry

The industry that pays their employees the most is Portfolio management, paying $4,008 compared with the state average of $931. The Portfolio management industry paid their employees $58 less per week, a decline of 1.4% in the last year. Investment banking and securities dealing ($2,708) and Spectator sports ($2,641) round out the top 3 industries. Employees in the Investment banking and securities dealing ($2,708 per week) were paid $103 less per week, a decline of 3.7% and Spectator sports ($2,641 per week) were paid $481 more per week, an increase of 22.3% round out the 3 industries that pay their employees the most.

Table: Top 7 Industries by Wage Change %
IndustryWkly Chg% Change
Packaged frozen food merchant wholesalers$50550.0%
Resin and synthetic rubber manufacturing$35929.5%
Footwear and leather goods repair$10328.3%
Gypsum product manufacturing$31625.7%
Spectator sports$48122.3%
Lighting fixture manufacturing$22920.7%
Fish and seafood merchant wholesalers$12319.0%


Table: Top 7 Industries by Wage Change $
IndustryWkly Chg% Change
Packaged frozen food merchant wholesalers$50550.0%
Spectator sports$48122.3%
Resin and synthetic rubber manufacturing$35929.5%
Software publishers$34917.3%
Gypsum product manufacturing$31625.7%
Internet publishing and web search portals$27115.5%
Lighting fixture manufacturing$22920.7%


Company Size

Wisconsin Businesses by Size

The solopreneur company, has the most businesses in Wisconsin by far. 58.2% of all businesses in the state have fewer than 5 employees. The 161,760 small businesses in the state represent 94.8% of all private businesses. The national average is 92.4%. (Small businesses have fewer than 50 employees, Solopreneurs employ fewer than 5.) Wisconsin added 5,361 businesses in the last year, an increase of 3.2% as compared to the national average of 3.0%.

Small businesses are defined as companies with fewer than 50 employees. These small businesses added 5,300 businesses in the last year, which is an increase of 3.4% as compared to the national average of 3.1%.

Mid-sized businesses are defined as companies with between 50 and 499 employees. These mid-sized businesses added 59 businesses in the last year, which is an increase of 0.7% as compared to the national average of 1.3%.

Large businesses are defined as companies with more than 500 employees. These large businesses added 2 businesses in the last year, which is an increase of 0.5% as compared to the national average of 2.1%.



Wisconsin Employees by Business Size

Wisconsin added 34,947 employees in the last year, an increase of 1.4% as compared to the national average of 5.2%. Small businesses are defined as companies with fewer than 50 employees. These small businesses added 12,053 businesses in the last year, which is an increase of 8.1% as compared to the national average of 4.2%.

Mid-sized businesses are defined as companies with between 50 and 499 employees. Mid-sized businesses added 22,251 employees in the last year, which is an increase of 2.2% as compared to the national average of 4.7%.

Large businesses are defined as companies with more than 500 employees. Large businesses added 643 employees in the last year, which is an increase of 0.2% as compared to the national average of 9.2%.

Wisconsin Avg Weekly Wages by Business Size

Wisconsin workers in every size business are paid less than the national average. The smallest companies in Wisconsin (those with fewer than 5 employees) pay workers 9.7% less than the national average ($916 per week as compared to the national average of $1,005 per week). The largest companies in Wisconsin (those with more than 1,000 employees) pay 27.7% workers below the national average ($1,498 per week as compared to the national average of $1,913 per week).

Average weekly wages in small businesses added $88 per week in the last year, which is an increase of 2.8% as compared to the national average of 3.1%. Employees of mid-sized businesses added $33 in wages per week in the last year, which is an increase of 1.1% as compared to the national average of 1.3%.

Employees of large businesses added $201 of weekly wages in the last year, which is an increase of 7.3% as compared to the national average of 2.1%.

Top Industries for Business and Employment

The table below illustrates the largest industries in the state, by number of businesses:

Table: Top 10 Industries by # of Businesses
Industry# Businesses% Change
Services for the elderly and disabled14,69412.0%
Restaurants and other eating places9,2062.3%
Computer systems design and related services4,65218.9%
Private households3,600-3.4%
Residential building construction3,3465.7%
Drinking places alcoholic beverages3,1131.4%
Insurance agencies and brokerages3,0653.3%
Wholesale trade agents and brokers2,987-4.7%
Management consulting services2,72815.4%
Gasoline stations with convenience stores2,3981.7%


The table below illustrates the largest industries in the state, by number of employees:

Table: Top 10 Industries by # of Employees
Industry# Employees% Change
Restaurants and other eating places179,4260.3%
General medical and surgical hospitals105,5142.0%
Management of companies and enterprises66,217-3.1%
Temporary help services59,490-4.2%
Offices of physicians49,786-0.2%
Supermarkets and other grocery stores46,369-1.2%
Services for the elderly and disabled44,7603.3%
General merchandise stores including warehouse clubs and supercenters35,807-0.7%
Continuing care assisted living facilities33,0172.3%
Nursing care facilities skilled nursing29,206-4.9%


The table below illustrates the largest industries in the state, by highest wages:

Table: Top 10 Industries by Weekly Wage
IndustryWkly Wages% Change
Portfolio management$4,008-1.4%
Investment banking and securities dealing$2,708-3.7%
Spectator sports$2,64122.3%
Monetary authorities - central bank$2,562-0.1%
Securities brokerage$2,416-7.4%
Software publishers$2,36917.3%
Druggists' goods merchant wholesalers$2,2353.8%
Commodity contracts brokerage$2,1540.0%
Offices of physicians$2,0432.6%
Internet publishing and web search portals$2,01615.5%




Data Sources




About the Writer

This page was created and is maintained by Kurt Tietjen, Founder of Stavera, High Peak Media & HomeGearWorks.com. Kurt is an executive, data scientist and software engineer who holds an MBA in Management Information Systems. In 2010, he partnered with scientists at Northwestern University to launch The Street Wire. This was one of the first mainstream uses of what would become “Narrative Science”, an artificial intelligence platform specializing in natural language generation. You can contact Kurt on LinkedIn here.