A report released recently by Forward Analytics entitled, “An Economic Evolution: Job Growth, Pay and Education Since 2012,” shows Wisconsin’s economy is growing but is evolving into one in which jobs require more education and skills.
While Wisconsin job growth has been strong over the past six years and has helped to drive down the unemployment rate to record lows, the report suggests occupational data from 2012 to 2018 contradict the notion that most of the jobs are at the lower end of the pay scale. Instead, the report documents an economy in which job growth is generally not occurring in low paying occupations, but rather in those occupations further up the pay scale–occupations that disproportionately require post-secondary education.
The report found the number of jobs in occupations requiring a postsecondary degree increased about twice as fast as those requiring a high school diploma at most.
The report notes that in 2012, just under a quarter of Wisconsin jobs typically required an associate or higher degree. However, 38 percent of new jobs created over the ensuing six years required those levels of education.
Further, as the report points out, while most production jobs are classified as requiring a high school diploma, as production lines are becoming more technologically advanced, the skills required for workers in those jobs are becoming more advanced than they once were, due to those technological advances.
The report concludes: “The recent growth patterns documented her reinforce Wisconsin ‘s need to continue investing in education, both at the K-12 and at the postsecondary levels. They also highlight the need to ensure that everyone leaves school–whether that is high school or a postsecondary institution–with the education and skills required in a changing economy.”