Survey of Job Openings in the Milwaukee Metropolitan Area: Week of October 21, 1996
The week of October 21, 1996, an estimated 29,065 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, se asonal fluctuations, and
normal turnover among the 768,900 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 Social Science Research Facility, 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.
Education and Training Requirements
- In October employers were seeking an estimated 17,233 full-time workers and 11,832
part-time employees. Employers reported 2,039 fewer full-time job openings than one year ago
and 1,425 fewer part-time openings. The heavy demand for manufacturing w orkers continues
to slow, while more full-time openings were reported in the finance, insurance and real estate
industry and construction, compared to last year.
- The largest numbers of full-time openings were concentrated in service industries (32
percent of total openings), retail and wholesale trade (26 percent) and manufacturing (17
percent). Most part-time job openings were in service industries (46 perc ent of the total) and
retail and wholesale trade (43 percent). Retail and wholesale trade firms continue to show more
part-time than full-time job openings.
- The three outlying counties of Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington (WOW) showed
about 400 more full-time job openings in October 1996 than in October 1995, while job openings
in Milwaukee County were 2,472 lower than a year ago. Forty-nine percent of f ull-time
openings and 38 percent of part-time openings were in the WOW counties.
- The percentage of full-time openings which required education, training or occupation-
specific experience beyond high school increased from 60 percent in May 1996 to 70 percent
in October 1996. The survey showed an estimated 9,428 full-time jobs for experienced or
technically trained workers, with 5,272 (56 percent) of these jobs identified as difficult to fill.
Nearly 1,500 jobs for persons with four-year college degrees (or more) were also reported as
difficult to fill.
- Full-time openings were noted for four-year college graduates as computer programmers,
systems analysts, management analysts, engineers, teachers and registered nurses. The most
frequently listed positions requiring an associate degree were for hair dressers and
cosmetologists, computer programmers, welfare service aides, and accountants. Jobs in demand
requiring certification or licensing included certified nursing assistants, registered nurses, truck
drivers, health technicians, auto mechanics, el ectricians and welders.
- The number of entry level jobs for workers with high school or less and lacking
occupation-specific experience is down from last year. In October employers reported 4,979
full-time openings in this category, compared to 6,461 openings last year.
- Even before the federal minimum wage increase took effect on October 1, 1996, the
majority of Milwaukee area employers were paying above $5.00 an hour for entry level full-time
work. In May 1996 employers reported offering less than $5.00 an hour fo r only 7 percent of
their full-time job openings. In October, under the new minimum wage requirement, less than
4 percent of full-time openings paid less than $5.00 an hour. The percentage of part-time jobs
paying below $5.00 an hour dropped from 23 per cent of openings in May to 13 percent of part-
time openings in October.
- The greatest impact of the minimum wage increase was seen on food preparation and
food service jobs. Nearly all jobs paying less than $5.00 an hour were concentrated in the retail
food sector in May 1996. Average wages for full-time openings for fo od counter, fountain and
related occupations rose from $4.88 an hour in May to $5.64 in October. Likewise, average
wages offered for part-time jobs jumped from $5.04 in May to $5.62 in October.
- Nearly all (97 percent) jobs requiring four years or more of college and two-thirds (69
percent) of jobs requiring technical training, certification or occupation-specific experience
offered wages sufficient to support a family above the poverty leve l and health insurance.
Thirty-nine percent of job openings requiring high school completion but no experience and 19
percent of jobs with no education or experience requirement offered health insurance and wages
considered sufficient to support a family of four above poverty ($15,600 a year).
Labor Market Supply and Demand
- Labor shortages are evident in Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington counties where about
7,200 adults were listed as unemployed or expected to work under AFDC requirements,
compared to 8,485 full-time and 4,517 part-time job openings. At the same time, the number
of jobs available in Milwaukee County, and particularly in the central city targeted Enterprise
Community, were far fewer than those needed. In Milwaukee County approximately 38,400
adults are listed as unemployed or expected to work while emp loyers reported an estimated
8,415 full-time job openings and 7,047 part-time openings in October.