Wisconsin Q1, 2019 Employment Statistics

  • 178,065 employers, up 3.1% from 172,686
  • 2,832,399 employees, up 0.3% from 2,823,613
  • $992 average weekly wage, up 2.6% from $967
  • The average weekly wage is 16.2% below the national average
  • The cost of living is 4.2% below the national average

Employer & Employee Growth

In the last year, the number of employers in the state increased by 5,379, which is an increase of 3.1%. The number of employees in Wisconsin increased by 8,786, an increase of 0.3%. During this same period, the average weekly wage increased by $25, an increase of 2.6%.

The number of private employers increased since last years' Q1. The number of private businesses increased by 5,361 or 3.2%. Growth in private businesses in Wisconsin grew faster than the national average of 3.0%. The number of employees in these businesses increased since last years' Q1, increasing by 11,649 or 0.5%. The growth in employees of private businesses in Wisconsin was slower than the national average of 1.7%.

The average weekly wage of employees of private businesses increased since last years' Q1. The averge weekly wage increased by $29 or 3.0%. Growth in average weekly wage of employees of private businesses in Wisconsin grew slower than the national average of 3.0%.


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 8.0%. Retail trade (9.9%), which increased by 0.0% and Professional services (9.3%), which increased by 9.7%, round out the 3 largest sectors.

Table: Sectors by Year-over-Year Qtly Business Change %
SectorChange Biz% Change
Professional services1,4629.7%
Healthcare2,0438.0%
Information1657.4%
Educational services865.4%
Waste services4515.3%
Transport and warehousing2745.1%
Company management674.6%
Real estate and rental2164.4%
Construction5563.8%
Arts and entertainment963.7%
Wholesale trade4373.4%
Mining and oil extraction52.6%
Utilities62.0%
Finance and insurance1131.3%
Accommodation and food services1761.2%
Agriculture and forestry250.9%
Other services980.7%
Manufacturing600.6%
Retail trade00.0%


Employees by Sector

The sector with the greatest number of employees in the state is Manufacturing with 17.0% of the employees in the state, had an increase in employees of 2.7% in the last year. Healthcare (14.1%), increased by 1.0% and Retail trade (10.5%), decreased by 1.7%, round out the top 3 sectors.

Table: Sectors by Year-over-Year Qtly Employee Change %
SectorEmployee Change% Change
Arts and entertainment1,7504.9%
Manufacturing12,7302.7%
Professional services2,7732.5%
Transport and warehousing2,1212.2%
Construction2,2082.0%
Finance and insurance1,4661.2%
Educational services4311.2%
Healthcare3,9591.0%
Real estate and rental1270.5%
Other services-83-0.1%
Accommodation and food services-400-0.2%
Information-124-0.3%
Agriculture and forestry-336-1.3%
Retail trade-5,246-1.7%
Waste services-2,889-2.0%
Wholesale trade-3,365-2.7%
Company management-2,395-3.5%
Utilities-422-4.6%
Mining and oil extraction-261-7.1%


Average Weekly Wage by Sector

The sector that pays their employees the highest is Company management paying $2,358per week compared with the state average of $997. Weekly wages in this sector rose by $6 or 0.3%. Utilities ($2,334), rose by $29 or 1.3% and Finance and insurance ($1,902) increased by $34 or 1.8% round out the 3 largest sectors.

Table: Sectors by Year-over-Year Weekly Wage Change %
SectorWage ChangeChange %
Healthcare$576.3%
Other services$284.9%
Waste services$294.9%
Wholesale trade$654.8%
Real estate and rental$384.5%
Information$694.5%
Professional services$564.1%
Accommodation and food services$82.7%
Retail trade$122.3%
Agriculture and forestry$152.2%
Transport and warehousing$172.1%
Educational services$171.8%
Finance and insurance$341.8%
Manufacturing$191.7%
Utilities$291.3%
Construction$141.2%
Company management$60.3%
Mining and oil extraction$-64-5.0%
Arts and entertainment$-52-8.2%


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 8.0% of the businesses in the state (with 14,267 employing 43,809 workers). The Services for the elderly and disabled industry had 1,833 more businesses, an increase of 14.7% in the last year. Restaurants and other eating places (5.1% of businesses) added 121 businesses, an increase of 1.4% and Computer systems design and related services (2.5% of businesses) added 715 businesses, an increase of 19.1% round out the 3 industries with the most businesses.

Table: Top 7 Industries by Business Change %
IndustryBusiness Chg% Change
Cut and sew apparel contractors6150.0%
All other information services872.7%
Monetary authorities - central bank360.0%
Communication and energy wire and cable mfg.133.3%
Hunting and trapping228.6%
Research and development in the physical engineering and life sciences6628.3%
Software publishers9628.2%


Table: Top 7 Industries by Business Change #
IndustryBusiness Chg% Change
Services for the elderly and disabled1,83314.7%
Computer systems design and related services71519.1%
Management consulting services35115.5%
Residential building construction1645.3%
Offices of real estate agents and brokers15411.9%
General freight trucking long-distance15410.4%
Temporary help services1278.8%


Employees by Industry

Restaurants and other eating places (5.1% of employees) added 121 employees, an increase of 1.4% and Computer systems design and related services (2.5% ofemployees) added 715 employees, an increase of 19.1% round out the 3 industries with the most employees.

Table: Top 7 Industries by Employee Change %
IndustryEmp Chg% Change
Credit bureaus89242.8%
All other information services14105.1%
Other gambling industries2991.7%
Cut and sew apparel contractors1764.9%
Promoters with facilities81855.3%
Facilities support services29449.9%
Luggage and leather goods stores4647.5%


Table: Top 7 Industries by Employee Change #
IndustryEmp Chg% Change
Dairy product except frozen manufacturing4,73723.7%
General medical and surgical hospitals1,6371.6%
Services for the elderly and disabled1,1732.7%
Management consulting services8607.5%
Direct life and health insurance carriers8524.0%
Electrical equipment manufacturing8285.9%
Promoters with facilities81855.3%


Average Weekly Wage by Industry

Restaurants and other eating places ($5) and Computer systems design and related services ($3) round out the top 3 industries. Employees in the Restaurants and other eating places ($5 per week) were paid $121 more per week, an increase of 1.4% and Computer systems design and related services ($3 per week) were paid $715 more per week, an increase of 19.1% round out the 3 industries that pay their employees the most.

Table: Top 7 Industries by Wage Change %
IndustryWkly Chg% Change
Other similar organizations$1,270250.5%
Medical and diagnostic laboratories$2,974135.6%
Office equipment rental and leasing$69256.4%
Cut and sew apparel contractors$22654.9%
Cable and other subscription programming$57549.7%
Pesticide and other ag. chemical mfg.$56449.4%
Media buying agencies$70847.2%


Table: Top 7 Industries by Wage Change $
IndustryWkly Chg% Change
Medical and diagnostic laboratories$2,974135.6%
Other similar organizations$1,270250.5%
Media buying agencies$70847.2%
Office equipment rental and leasing$69256.4%
Cable and other subscription programming$57549.7%
Industrial paper merchant wholesalers$57234.8%
Pesticide and other ag. chemical mfg.$56449.4%


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 92.9%. (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%.



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.