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Dennis Winters, Chief Economist for the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development visited with the LGI Board at its October meeting to discuss workforce trends impacting local government.  Key points:

  • Recovery from recession is taking much longer than is typical
  • Much of Wisconsin will be seeing stagnate to declining population growth over next 10 years
  • There will be a significant increase in the number of people older than 65
  • Labor force participation rates are dropping, although still above national rates
  • Labor force participation rates drop dramatically for persons older than 54
  • This all adds up to workforce shortages in the future
  • Rapidly changing technology requires specialized skills which are not present in sufficient quantity to meet workforce needs
  • Even though the political drumbeat is about jobs, there are currently 82,000 open jobs in Wisconsin ready to be filled - 70% of responding businesses indicate having trouble finding qualified workers
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