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Survey of Job Openings in the Milwaukee Metropolitan Area: Week of May 22, 1995

Employment and Training Institute, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 1995

The week of May 22, 1995, an estimated 37,274 full and part-time jobs were open for immediate hire in the four-county Milwaukee metropolitan area. These job openings are the result of company expansions, labor shortages in difficult to fill positions, seasonal fluctuations, as well as normal turnover among the 746,110 employed workers in the metro area due to retirements, resignations and firings. 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 Study Project with local governments.

  • In May 1995 employers were seeking an estimated 20,543 full-time workers and 16,731 part-time employees. The number of full-time job openings was 949 higher than in October 1994, with openings notably higher in service industries (909 more openings). The heavy demand for manufacturing workers has slowed somewhat, showing 1,326 fewer openings than in October 1994.
  • One out of every three companies in the Milwaukee area had at least one job opening the week of May 22nd. Half of all full-time job openings were generated by companies with less than 50 workers and 35 percent were for companies that had fewer than 20 workers.
  • The majority (61%) of full-time openings required education, training or occupation- specific experience beyond high school. The survey showed an estimated 9,386 jobs for experienced or technically trained workers, with 5,738 (61%) of these jobs identified as difficult to fill.
  • Employers continue to list the majority of their full-time (56%) and part-time (52%) openings as difficult to fill. The situation is worst for part-time openings in Waukesha, Ozaukee and Washington counties, where 65 percent of part-time jobs were listed as difficult to fill. However, one-half of these difficult-to-fill openings paid less than $6.00 an hour.
  • There are higher numbers of part-time rather than full-time jobs for new entrants to the labor force lacking vocational or technical training beyond high school. Employers reported an estimated 7,338 full-time openings for persons with no experience and a high school education or less and 10,153 part-time openings. The number of part-time openings for applicants with limited education and experience is double the number available in October 1994.
  • The tight Milwaukee labor market appears to be moving wages up from the lowest categories. Compared to job openings two years ago (in May 1993), Milwaukee area employers reported three times as many full-time job openings offering $6.00-8.99 per hour and fewer openings paying less than $6.00. Employers are also reporting increased openings for jobs paying $9.00 or more.
  • Entry-level jobs requiring no experience were the least likely to offer health insurance and wages sufficient to support a family above the poverty level ($14,800 a year). Only 7 percent of full-time job openings with no education or experience requirements offered wages and fringe benefits to support a family of four above the poverty level. Jobs requiring high school completion but no experience offered family-supporting wages and health insurance for one-third (31%) of openings.
  • In May 1995, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that 27,700 persons were unemployed and looking for work, while the survey of employers showed 20,543 full-time job openings. When adults receiving AFDC and food stamps are considered for the labor pool along with unemployed workers, full-time job openings available the week of May 22, 1995, represented about 40 percent of the jobs required for the 49,400 to 51,400 persons seeking or expected to work. If part-time and full-time job openings were combined, the total of 37,274 jobs would represent about 75 percent of jobs needed for the Milwaukee metro population expected to work.

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