Survey of Job Openings in the Milwaukee Metropolitan Area: Week of May 18, 1998
The week of May 18, 1998, an estimated 34,231 full and part-time jobs were open for
immediate hire in the four-county Milwaukee metropolitan area. These openings are the result
of company expansions, labor shortages in difficult to fill positions, seasonal fluctuations, and
normal turnover among the 787,101 employed workers in the area. Estimates of job openings
are based on semi-annual surveys of area employers conducted by the University of Wisconsin-
Milwaukee Employment and Training Institute and the UWM Institute for Survey and Policy
Research, as part of a collaborative Labor Market Project with the City of Milwaukee,
Milwaukee Area Technical College, Milwaukee Public Schools, and Private Industry Council
of Milwaukee County. The project is supported by the government partners, Helen Bader
Foundation, Milwaukee Foundation, and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
- In May employers were seeking an estimated 19,259 full-time workers and 14,972 part-
time employees. The largest numbers of full-time openings were concentrated in service
industries (30 percent of total openings), retail and wholesale trade (23 percent), and
manufacturing (20 percent).
- Employers reported 12,253 job openings in Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington
counties, accounting for 39 percent of full-time and 31 percent of part-time openings in the
- Employers in the suburbs and WOW counties found it more difficult to fill full-
part-time openings than in the City of Milwaukee. For full-time job openings, 55 percent were
identified as difficult to fill in the WOW counties, 52 percent in the Milwaukee County suburbs,
41 percent in the City of Milwaukee, and 40 percent in the central city neighborhoods. For
part-time job openings, 42 percent were considered difficult to fill in the WOW counties, 43
percent in the Milwaukee County suburbs, 29 percent in the City of Milwaukee, and only 25
percent in the central city neighborhoods.
- The federal minimum wage was raised from $4.25 to $4.75 an hour in October
to $5.15 in September 1997. The majority of Milwaukee area employers were paying at or
for entry level work before the federal wage changes. Wages for the remaining entry-level
continued to climb -- likely in response to both the minimum wage law and the tight labor
May 1998, only 2 percent of full-time openings and 9 percent of part-time openings paid
($5.15 an hour). The average wage for jobs with no education or experience requirements was
for full-time openings and $6.01 for part-time work. The average pay for jobs requiring high
completion but no experience or training was $7.90 for full-time jobs and $6.57 for part-time
- In May 1998, 81 percent of full-time openings could support two persons above the
and 72 percent offered wages sufficient to support three persons above poverty and health
However, only 48 percent of full-time job openings with no education or experience
health insurance and family-supporting wages for three-person families and only 20 percent
supported a family of four.
- Two-thirds of part-time job openings with health industries (hospitals, nursing
offices, etc.) offered health insurance benefits, compared to only 3 percent of part-time jobs in
wholesale trade (eating establishments, grocery stores, department stores, warehouses,
Labor Market Supply and Demand
- Labor shortages were evident in Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington counties
low unemployment levels (1.6 to 2.3 percent) showed 6,045 unemployed adults compared to
time and 4,668 part-time job openings. In Milwaukee County the total number of jobs available
full-time and 9,594 part-time openings) exceeded the number of officially counted unemployed
- In the central city of Milwaukee Community Development Block Grant/Enterprise
neighborhoods, full-time job openings (1,764) fell far short of the estimated 7,800 unemployed
considered actively seeking work in May 1998 and the estimated 9,800 cases on "W-2."
Education and Training Requirements
- The high demand for trained workers continues. Almost two-thirds (64 percent)
time openings required education, training or occupation-specific experience beyond high school.
survey showed an estimated 11,329 full-time jobs for experienced or technically trained workers,
54 percent of these jobs identified as difficult to fill. Employers also reported that 53 percent
1,680 jobs for persons with four-year college degrees (or more) were difficult to fill.
openings for four-year college graduates included jobs for engineers, computer programmers and
systems analysts, accountants and auditors. The most frequently listed positions
requiring certification, licensing or an associate degree included jobs for certified nursing
drivers, secretaries, sales workers, and welders and cutters.
- The number of entry
level jobs with no education or experience requirements was up compared
to last year with 4,835 full-time openings and 8,838 part-time openings in this category. Most
listed occupations for full-time jobs in this category included sales workers, laborers and food
workers. Most job openings for machine operators continue to be available for workers without
experience. Part-time job openings for persons without a high school diploma or experience
entirely in food service and preparation and sales.
- Entry level jobs for those with a high school diploma (2,336 full-time and 3,164 part-time
openings) were in less demand than entry level jobs with no requirements. The occupations
frequently listed for full-time workers were in sales, bank tellers, laborers and cashiers, while
jobs were open for sales workers, counter clerks and cashiers.