Five Things to Know About the Valley Job Market Right Now
what the future may hold for workers in the Chippewa Valley
If you’ve watched the labor market over the past couple of years in the Chippewa Valley, you’ve probably experienced some whiplash. Erratic trends can make it hard to get a handle on what’s actually happening. Once the pandemic-related static has cleared, what direction is local employment really headed? This question and others are addressed by the state Department of Workforce Development in a profile of Eau Claire County’s workforce published late last year. Here are six crucial conclusions:
1. WE’RE NOT GETTING ANY YOUNGER. “The number of retiring Baby Boomers nearly matches the influx of new workers, resulting in a slow-growing workforce and placing constraints on the ability of employers across industries to secure talent,” the report says.
2. BUT WE’RE NOT AS OLD AS WE COULD BE. The median age in Eau Claire County is 35.2, which is tied for the second-lowest in the state. “Eau Claire has focused its livability efforts to attract and retain younger workforce talent, which has contributed to a relatively high rate of in-migration,” the report said.
3. EDUCATION AND HEALTHCARE ARE KINGS. About 29% percent of employment in the county is in the Education and Healthcare “super-sector,” and these jobs represent more than one-third of total payroll. There were 15,861 of these jobs in 2020 (and undoubtedly more today).
4. BLUE-COLLAR IS BIG, TOO. The Trade, Transportation, and Utilities “super-sector” accounted for 21% of total employment in Eau Claire County. That was 11,590 jobs in an average month in 2020. There were also an estimated 5,312 manufacturing jobs in the county that year.
5. GRAB-BAG OF GROWTH. So what are the fastest-growing jobs? According to an earlier study, the No. 1 growth job in west-central Wisconsin between 2018 and 2028 was projected to be truck driver, with an estimated 517 openings annually. This was followed by sales representatives in the wholesale and manufacturing fields (301 new jobs per year), maintenance and repair workers (277 jobs a year), elementary school teachers (261 annually), and registered nurses (249 annually).