University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Employment and Training Institute

Brief Summary

Survey of Job Openings in the Milwaukee Metropolitan Area: Week of May 15, 2000

by John Pawasarat and Lois M. Quinn, Employment and Training Institute, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 2000

The week of May 15, 2000, an estimated 38,314 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 794,097 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 and the Helen Bader Foundation.

Total Openings

  • In May employers were seeking workers for an estimated 24,242 full-time and 14,072 part-time openings. The largest numbers of full-time openings were concentrated in service industries (32 percent of total openings), retail and wholesale trade (29 percent), and manufacturing (19 percent).

  • Employers reported 15,859 job openings in Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington (WOW) counties, accounting for 45 percent of full-time and 35 percent of part-time openings in the metropolitan area.

  • Most entry level job openings are located in the outlying counties and the Milwaukee County suburbs. Eighty-nine percent of full-time and 83 percent of part-time entry level openings are located in the suburban/exurban parts of the metropolitan area. Only 4 percent of full-time and part-time entry level job openings are in the Community Development Block Grant central city Milwaukee neighborhoods.
Graph: Total
 Openings: 1993-2000
Graph:
Industries

Wage Rates

  • The federal minimum wage was raised from $4.25 to $4.75 an hour in October 1996, and to $5.15 in September 1997. The majority of Milwaukee area employers were paying at or above $5.15 for entry level work before the federal wage changes. Wages for remaining entry-level positions have continued to climb in response to the tight labor market. In May 2000, less than 1 percent of full-time openings and 2 percent of part-time openings paid minimum wage ($5.15 an hour). The average wage for entry-level jobs with no experience or training requirements was $7.75 for full-time openings and $6.65 for part-time work.

  • In May 2000, 83 percent of full-time openings could support two persons above the poverty level, and 77 percent offered wages sufficient to support three persons above poverty and offered health insurance. However, only 50 percent of full-time job openings with no education or experience requirements offered health insurance and family-supporting wages for three-person families.

  • The majority (84 percent) of full-time job openings offered health insurance benefits. By contrast, only 32 percent of part-time openings had health insurance coverage.

Labor Market Supply and Demand

  • Labor shortages were evident in Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington counties where very low unemployment levels (1.9 to 2.3 percent) showed 7,485 unemployed adults compared to 10,963 full-time and 4,896 part-time job openings. In Milwaukee County the total number of jobs available (10,963 full-time and 8,684 part-time openings) fell short of the number of officially counted unemployed job seekers (22,325 workers).

  • In the central city neighborhoods, job openings (1,707 full-time and 739 part-time) fell far short of the estimated 11,400 unemployed persons considered actively seeking work in May 2000 and 3,770 cases receiving "W-2" welfare payments.

Graph: Job
Gap

Education and Training Requirements

  • The high demand for trained workers continues. Seventy-two percent of full-time openings required education, training or occupation-specific experience beyond high school. The survey showed an estimated 13,242 full-time jobs for experienced or technically trained workers, with 57 percent of these jobs identified as difficult to fill. Employers reported that 40 percent of the 3,042 jobs for persons with four-year college degrees (or more) were difficult to fill.

Graph: Job Requirements

  • Twenty-one percent of full-time openings and 41 percent of part-time openings were entry level jobs with no education or experience requirements. Another 7 percent of full-time openings and 6 percent of part-time openings required high school completion but no experience or training.

  • Most entry level full-time and part-time job openings were located in the outlying counties and the Milwaukee County suburbs. In May 2000, 79 percent of full-time openings for food preparation and food service workers were located in suburban/exurban areas outside the City of Milwaukee. Similarly, nearly all (94-96 percent) of full-time openings for laborers and stock handlers, helpers and cleaners were in the suburbs/exurbs.

  • Many better paying jobs requiring technical training or occupation-specific experience were located at suburban/exurban worksites. Nearly all (91 percent) of the 876 full-time openings for precision production occupations and 98 percent of the 1,368 openings for machine operators were located at worksites outside the City of Milwaukee.

  • An estimated 461 full-time and 442 part-time jobs required possession of a valid driver's or chauffeur's license. These included work for truck drivers (delivery, concrete, long-haul), driver-sales workers, bus drivers, groundskeepers and some construction workers.

  • The tables below identify jobs in highest demand by level of education or training required. Frequently listed full-time job openings were reported in health fields, sales work, food preparation and service, manufacturing and office work. Part-time jobs in high demand were reported in health fields, sales work, food preparation and service, and personal service work.

FULL-TIME POSITIONS WITH 100 OR MORE OPENINGS
(Jobs in bold showed at least 100 openings identified by employers as difficult to fill)
Four-Year College Degree or More

  • teachers
  • computer programmers
  • engineers
  • registered nurses
  • marketing, advertising, public relations managers
  • management-related occupations
  • other financial officers
  • computer systems analysts, scientists and researchers
Certification, License, AA Degree, or Experience Required

  • sales workers
  • nursing aides, orderlies and attendants
  • registered nurses
  • waiters and waitresses
  • health aides
  • welders and cutters
  • winding and twisting machine operators
  • secretaries
  • child care workers
  • motor transportation occupations
  • hairdressers and cosmetologists
  • machinists
  • pressing machine operators
  • technicians
  • cooks
  • truck drivers
  • bookkeepers, accounting and auditing clerks
  • production helpers
  • licensed practical nurses
  • janitors and cleaners
  • patternmakers, lay-out workers and cutters
  • freight, stock and material handlers
  • health technologists and technicians
  • concrete and terrazzo finishers
  • roofers
  • helpers, mechanics and repairers
  • receptionists
  • mechanical engineering technicians
  • kitchen workers, food preparation occupations
  • laborers
  • supervisors and proprietors, sales occupations
  • information clerks
  • general office clerks
  • machine operators
  • sales representatives, manufacturing and wholesale
  • construction trades, general
High School Completion, No Experience Required

  • sales workers
  • helpers, mechanics and repairers
  • laborers
No Experience or Education Required

  • sales workers
  • kitchen workers, food preparation occupations
  • cashiers
  • cooks
  • janitors and cleaners
  • waiters and waitresses
  • freight, stock and material handlers
  • maids and housemen
  • supervisors, food preparation and service occupations
  • production helpers

PART-TIME POSITIONS WITH 100 OR MORE OPENINGS
(Jobs in bold showed at least 100 openings identified by employers as difficult to fill)
Certification, License, AA Degree, or Experience Required

  • registered nurses
  • nursing aides, orderlies and attendants
  • radiologic technicians
  • waiters and waitresses
  • health technologists and technicians
  • hairdressers and cosmetologists
  • secretaries
  • health aides
  • motor transportation occupations
  • sales workers
  • bartenders
  • teachers
  • child care workers
  • driver-sales workers
  • licensed practical nurses
  • bus drivers
High School Completion, No Experience Required

  • waiters and waitresses
  • sales workers
No Experience or Education Required

  • cashiers
  • sales workers
  • kitchen workers, food preparation occupations
  • janitors and cleaners
  • cooks
  • waiters'/waitresses' assistants
  • bartenders
  • food counter, fountain and related occupations
  • freight, stock and material handlers
  • general office clerks

Graph: Location
of Full-Time Openings
Graph: Location
of Part-Time Openings

Background on the Milwaukee Labor Market Project

To address the need for information on the local labor market and to improve planning for employment of Milwaukee area residents, since 1993 the City of Milwaukee, Milwaukee Area Technical College, Milwaukee Public Schools, Private Industry Council of Milwaukee County, and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Employment and Training Institute have joined together in a partnership to survey business in the metropolitan area and to assess skill needs of local companies. The project is supported by the government partners and the Helen Bader Foundation.

Milwaukee is the first major city in the country to regularly study job openings in order to assess the number and type of jobs available, pay rates, job locations and the level of skill training employers need to fill full-time and part-time openings. In 1998 the U.S. Congress adopted the Milwaukee Labor Market Project's job vacancies survey design as a national model. The job vacancy survey design, sampling, methodology, weighting, survey administration, and data verification procedures are described in the eighty-page paper, Surveying Job Vacancies in Local Labor Markets: A How-To Manual, prepared for the U.S. Department of Labor.


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