Contact: DWD Communications, 608-266-2722

MADISON – The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) today released the state’s Quarterly Census of Employment & Wages (QCEW) covering the third quarter of 2016. The QCEW data is compiled quarterly based on Unemployment Insurance records from some 96% of Wisconsin business establishments.

Highlights from the actual job counts, when compared to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) published data for 2015, include:

  • Quarterly wages by covered private-sector employers grew by 7 percent year over year. Total wages grew by 7.5 percent over the year.
  • Wisconsin added 29,486 total jobs and 25,608 private-sector jobs from September 2015 to September 2016.

DWD Secretary Ray Allen said, “Quarterly private-sector wages grew by 7 percent over the year, with the strongest gains in professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, and education and health services.  As Wisconsin works to reduce costs to do business in Wisconsin, employers can offer incentives like higher pay to attract and retain talent. Working families reap the economic rewards in the form of more income to support themselves and pursue their piece of the American Dream.”

Other indicators of the state of Wisconsin’s economy include:

  • Wisconsin had the nation’s 12th highest growth in average weekly private-sector wages from June 2015 to June 2016, according to state-by-state Quarterly Census of Employment & Wages (QCEW) data.
  • Initial UI claims ended 2016 at their lowest level since 1988. Continuing unemployment claims ended 2016 at their lowest level since 1973.
  • More people were employed last year in Wisconsin (November 2016) than at any point in our state’s history.

Every quarter, all employers covered under state or federal unemployment insurance are required to submit tax reports on monthly employment, quarterly total and taxable wages, and contributions for hourly and salaried employees. Wisconsin has nearly 160,000 business establishments employing some 2.8 million workers that are required by state and federal statutes to submit this information to DWD. DWD sends the data to the BLS, which incorporates the information when it publishes the QCEW.

Wisconsin has received the BLS’s sign-off on state data covering the third quarter of 2016 and is posting the third-quarter data on its WORKnet site. The BLS will incorporate the data in its next QCEW release scheduled for March 7. Information about the QCEW, including data for the 2015 quarters and 2016 first and second quarter, can be accessed through the BLS website at

The QCEW is a comprehensive count of jobs, as it includes reports from nearly all Wisconsin employers. This data series is distinct from the Current Employment Statistics (CES), which estimates jobs based on response to a survey of roughly 5,500 employers (3.5 percent of Wisconsin businesses) and is released in preliminary form each month.

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