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Employment and Training Institute Job Vacancy Surveys

The Employment and Training Institute of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee conducts annual surveys of employers in the Milwaukee regional labor market for the Regional Workforce Alliance and Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board to determine the number and types of jobs open for immediate hire. Milwaukee was the first major city in the U.S. to regularly survey job vacancies in order to assess the number and type of jobs available and the level of skill training employers need to fill openings. The findings are used to meet the needs of the Workforce Investment Act and by local governments and schools to help define their training priorities.

2009 Reports

Survey of Job Openings in the 7 Counties of Southeastern Wisconsin: Week of May 25, 2009

    graph showing decline in manufacturing job openings The seven-county region showed an estimated 7,520 full-time and 3,449 part-time openings. Openings were down by 16,100 from those reported in May 2006. The combination of workers laid off from their jobs and lower openings available led to an unprecedented job gap in the Milwaukee area between people seeking work and jobs available. The job gap in the region was 13 to 1 (13 job seekers and people expected to find work compared to 1 full-time opening). The job gap in inner city Milwaukee was 25 to 1.

    The health industry was the dominant force in the current job market. One out of every four full-time openings and one out of every 3 part-time openings was in a health-related field (either directly providing health care or working for a health-care provider). The largest openings in health were for 731 registered nurses, 689 nursing assistants, 274 health technologists and technicians, 161 licensed practical nurses, 121 health aides, and 92 pharmacists.

    Technical training is key for a majority of jobs available in the region. Half of full-time openings and 65% of part-time openings required education, technical training and/or occupation-specific experience beyond high school but short of a four-year college degree.

    The labor market has nearly dried up for unskilled workers lacking a high school diploma and occupation-specific experience. In May 2006 there were an estimated 6,548 full-time openings for these workers; in May 2009 there were less than 500 such openings. Only 1% of job openings in the health fields were open to unskilled workers lacking a high school diploma.

    The "gender gap" of decreasing employment for male workers (observed in the Occupational Shifts in Private Industry report) was evident in the most current job openings survey as well. Job demand for blue collar entry level workers (typically male) took the greatest hits. Full-time openings for handlers, helpers and laborers were down 94% compared to 3 years ago and demand for workers in transportation and material-moving occupations dropped by 71% for full-time openings.


Follow-Up Presentations

    September 10, 2009 - "Implications of the Regional Job Openings Survey Results for Delivery of Workforce Investment Services in Milwaukee County" for the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board

    September 21, 2009 - "Implications of the Regional Job Openings Survey Results for Ex-Offenders in the Local Labor Force" for the Regional Re-entry Planning Committee

    October 1, 2009 - "Job Openings in the 7-County Region and Implications for Workforce Training" for the Regional Workforce Alliance (presentations in Sturtevant and Milwaukee)

    October 21, 2009 - "Job Openings in Southeast Wisconsin" for the SE Wisconsin Workforce Investment Board

    December 16, 2009 - "Jobs Issues for the Tri-County" for the Southeast Wisconsin Workforce Development Area Tri-County Staff Development Session

2006 Reports


The Milwaukee job vacancy studies were initiated in 1993 at the request of the City of Milwaukee in collaboration with Milwaukee Area Technical College, the Milwaukee Public Schools, and the Private Industry Council of Milwaukee County, and with funding support from the government partners and the Helen Bader Foundation. In 2006 the survey was expanded from the four counties of the Milwaukee metropolitan area to include all seven counties of the Milwaukee Region.

The Surveys of Job Openings are based on a stratified sample of companies listed by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development as doing business in Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington, Waukesha, Racine, Kenosha and Walworth counties. In May 2009, 3,867 companies participated in the survey and several thousand individual job title listings were analyzed for their education and training requirements. Data are collected on expected rates of pay, education and training required, jobsite location, and whether the job is considered difficult to fill. Survey results are tabulated and weighted by size and type of industry and by response rate to project the total number and type of jobs available in the metropolitan area and the region. Data are collected through mail surveys, hundreds of follow-up phone interviews, and review of websites.

In 1998 the Employment and Training Institute prepared a manual for the U.S. Department of Labor on Surveying Job Vacancies in Local Labor Markets. The manual, available online, provides information on job vacancy survey design, sampling, methodology, weighting, survey administration, data verification, and data analyses issues. Uses of job openings data to assess spatial and skills mismatches within subareas of the labor market and to target training and transportation strategies are also described.

Job Vacancy Surveys in Other Cities and States

Job openings surveys using the UWM-ETI methodology are now used by at least 15 states, major metropolitan areas, and scores of urban and rural counties.

U.S. map of vacancy survey states and cities
. Statewide surveys are conducted in the following states: Metropolitan or regional surveys are conducted for a number of cities, including:
. Previous ETI Job Openings Studies: 1993 - 2005

Related ETI Research

The Employment and Training Institute provides technical assistance for local workforce development efforts and has prepared research studies on:

For more information, contact John Pawasarat, Director, Employment and Training Institute, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 161 W. Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 6000, Milwaukee, WI 53203. Phone 414-227-3380. Fax 414-227-3323. Email eti@uwm.edu.

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