University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Employment and Training Institute

Brief Summary

Survey of Job Openings in the Milwaukee Metropolitan Area: Week of October 21, 2002

The week of October 21, 2002, an estimated 15,305 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 785,387 employed workers in the area. The job vacancy survey was conducted for the Private Industry Council of Milwaukee County by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Employment and Training Institute.

Total Openings

  • In October employers were seeking workers for an estimated 8,870 full-time and 6,435 part-time openings. The largest numbers of full-time openings were concentrated in service industries (43 percent of total openings); finance, insurance and real estate (18%); and retail and wholesale trade (16 percent). Part-time openings were concentrated mainly in the service sector (51 percent) and retail and wholesale trade (34 percent).

  • Openings were the lowest ever since the job openings survey began in May 1993. Declines were sharp in all parts of the metropolitan area. Employers reported 3,180 job openings in Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington (WOW) counties, down by 80 percent from 15,688 in October 1998. In Milwaukee County job openings totaled 5,106, compared to 19,487 in October 1998.

  • Numerical declines were the steepest in the service industries, which reported 1,336 fewer full- time and 1,333 fewer part-time openings than last October. In the retail and wholesale trade sectors employers reported 674 fewer full-time openings and 1,309 fewer part-time openings than in October 2001.

  • Job demand remained strong, however, in health care where openings made up 30 percent of Milwaukee area full-time and part-time openings.

Graph: Job Openings by Type of Industry


Graph: Total Openings, 1993-2002

Wage Rates

  • In October 2002, less than 1 percent of openings paid minimum wage ($5.15 an hour) or below. The average wage for entry-level jobs with no experience or training requirements was $8.67 for full-time openings and $7.34 for part-time work in October 2002.

  • In October 2002, 85 percent of full-time openings could support two persons above the poverty level, and 78 percent offered wages sufficient to support three persons above poverty and offered health insurance. However, only 26 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.

Graph: Full-Time Openings Paying Family Wages and

Labor Market Supply and Demand

  • In Milwaukee County the total number of jobs available (5,106 full-time and 3,511 part-time openings) fell short of the number of officially counted unemployed job seekers (28,789 workers). Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington counties with lower unemployment levels (2.9 to 4.2 percent) showed 12,033 unemployed adults compared to 3,180 full-time and 2,397 part- time job openings.

Graph: Work Sites for Full-Time Job Openings

Graph: Work Sites for Full-Time Job Openings

  • In the central city neighborhoods, job openings (1,172 full-time and 605 part-time) fell far short of the estimated 13,020 unemployed persons considered actively seeking work in October 2002 and 5,452 cases receiving "W-2" welfare payments.

Graph: Estimated Job Seekers to Job  Openings by
Geographical Area, October 2002

Education and Training Requirements

  • The high demand for trained workers continues. Seventy-seven percent of full-time openings required education, training or occupation-specific experience beyond high school. The survey showed an estimated 3,937 full-time jobs for experienced or technically trained workers, with 42 percent of these jobs identified as difficult to fill. Employers reported that 50 percent of the 1,480 full-time jobs for persons with four-year college degrees (or more) were difficult to fill.

  • Thirty percent of all job vacancies were concentrated in the health care area where an estimated 2,386 full-time and 2,171 part-time jobs were open, including 1,482 openings for nurses, 556 for nursing and patient care assistants, 560 for other health aides, 345 for licensed practical nurses, 158 for radiologic technicians, and 520 other health technicians (including pharmacy technicians, phlebotomists, medical technologists, and surgical technicians).

  • Thirteen percent of full-time openings and 34 percent of part-time openings were entry level jobs with no education or experience requirements. Another 10 percent of full-time openings and 10 percent of part-time openings required high school completion but no experience or training. However, most full-time entry-level jobs were concentrated in the WOW counties (48 percent) and the Milwaukee County suburbs (19 percent of jobs). Entry- level jobs in the City of Milwaukee were concentrated in retail establishments (24 percent of openings), health care (17 percent of openings), and child care (17 percent of openings).

  • An estimated 233 full-time and part-time jobs required possession of a valid driver's or chauffeur's license. These included openings for 116 truck drivers (delivery, concrete, long- haul) and 87 driver-sales workers.

Graph: Requirements for Full-Time  Job Openings

Graph: Requirements for Part-Time  Job Openings

Frequently listed full-time job openings were noted in health fields, sales work, food preparation, and office work. Positions with 100 or more openings are listed below.

Full-Time Positions with 100 or More Openings
Full-Time Openings Job Title
813 Registered nurses
425 Office clerks
374 Health technologists and technicians
357 Health aides
304 Sales workers
279 Cashiers
220 Nursing aides and attendants
194 Cooks
189 Financial services sales occupations
189 Technicians, non-health
184 Computer programmers, operators, and systems analysts
172 Child care workers and early childhood teachers' assistants
167 Janitors and cleaners
162 Social workers
157 Licensed practical nurses
145 Food preparation workers
127 Supervisors, food preparation and food service
125 Secretaries
120 Bank tellers
116 Truck drivers
113 Engineers
101 Public relations specialists

Frequently listed part-time job openings were noted in health fields, sales work, food preparation and service, and personal service work. Positions with 100 or more openings are listed below.

Part-Time Positions with 100 or More Openings
Part-Time Openings Job Title
669 Registered nurses
597 Sales workers
540 Food preparation workers
537 Waiters and waitresses
378 Cashiers
336 Nursing aides and assistants
322 Personal care workers
304 Health technologists and technicians
224 Office clerks
203 Health aides
188 Licensed practical nurses
165 Attendants, amusement and recreation facilities
126 Stock and inventory clerks
122 Cooks
116 Food counter occupations
114 Waiters' and waitresses' assistants
105 Garage and service station-related occupations
103 Computer operators and programmers

This report was prepared by John Pawasarat, Director of the UWM Employment and Training Institute, with assistance from Lois M. Quinn, Senior Research Scientist, and student researchers Susanna Alves, Nga Chan, Maureen Engler, Erin Eklund, Andrew Fisher, Cordella Jones, Bethany Peyer, and Dayna Ramstack. 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 openings survey design as a national model. Summaries of job openings reports for prior years (1993-2001) are available on the Employment and Training Institute website at The 80-page manual on how to conduct job vacancies studies is available on the Internet at For further information, contact John Pawasarat, Employment and Training Institute, School of Continuing Education, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 161 W. Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 6000, Milwaukee, WI 53203.

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