Not surprisingly, Dodge and Jefferson counties — in particular the Ixonia and Johnson Creek areas — are growing in population and this is reflected statistically in a new statewide study on population, demographics and the workforce released Friday by the state’s Department of Workforce Development (DWD).
The latest County Workforce Profiles provide snapshots of the labor market for every Wisconsin county using the most recently available data. DWD’s Office of Economic Advisors updates the profiles every two years.
The Jefferson County portion of the study indicated the county added 666 residents from 2010 to 2018. With a population of 84,352, the county ranks as the 20th largest in Wisconsin. Its growth rate of 0.80% over the period ranks 38th out of the state’s 72 counties.
Six of Jefferson County’s 10 largest municipalities increased in population. The Town of Ixonia experienced the fastest growth at 11.45% and added the most residents with 502.
“Jefferson County has a population density of 151.6 people per square mile, based on area information from the 2010 Census and the most current population figures,” the study said. “This value is higher than both Wisconsin, at 107.4, and the United States, at 92.6. Jefferson is the 17th most population-dense county in the state.”
Addressing the 10 most populated municipalities in the county, the study indicated that the Jefferson County portion of the City of Watertown lost 36 residents from 2010 to 2018, going from 15,402 people to 15,366. The City of Jefferson lost six people, going from 7,973 to 7,967. Lake Mills gained 245 people, going from 5,708 to 5,953. Ixonia grew by a 502 people, from 4,385 people to 4,887. Another community that showed substantial growth was Johnson Creek, which grew from 2,738 to 2,997, an addition of 259. Waterloo grew by 29, going from 3,333 to 3,362.
The study indicated that 53.45% of employed Jefferson County residents work in the county. This percentage ranks 57th among all 72 Wisconsin counties. More Jefferson County out-commuters flow into Waukesha County than any other county, with more than an estimated 6,800 people heading east to work. Although many Jefferson County residents also work in Dane County, overall commuting ties are stronger to the Milwaukee area.
More than one out of every 10 workers in Jefferson County comes from Dodge County, double the presence of any other neighboring county. The study’s authors noted, however, that it must be kept in mind that Watertown straddles the border of Jefferson and Dodge counties.
Jefferson County’s 2018 annual unemployment rate of 2.9% is lower than the United States’ 3.9% and Wisconsin at 3.0%. It is tied for the 23rd lowest among Wisconsin’s 72 counties.
“Amidst the Great Recession, the county’s annual unemployment rate reached 9.2 percent, the 33rd lowest peak in the state,” the study said. “The Jefferson County rate has decreased every year since 2009, and its 2018 value is the lowest over the time horizon studied. The current labor market environment is making it difficult for many employers to find workers.”
Jefferson County added 564 jobs from 2017 to 2018, growing 1.7%. The manufacturing sector, deemed a “super-sector” in the study, added the most jobs at 317, while professional and business services grew at the fastest rate at 7.5%. Manufacturing continues to serve as the dominant sector, with more than 26% of the county’s jobs.
The annual average wage for all industries in Jefferson County is $40,611. This is 16.9% lower than the equivalent state figure of $48,891.
The study indicated Dodge County added 1,190 residents from 2010 to 2018, growing 1.3%.
With a population of 89,949, the county is the 17th most populous in the state. Seven out of the 10 largest municipalities in Dodge County increased in population over the period. The 10 municipalities account for 63% of the county’s population and are responsible for 88.8% of its growth.
Among the 10 most-populated municipalities in Dodge County in the Daily Times readership area are Watertown and Juneau. The Dodge County portion of the City of Watertown grew from 8,459 people in 2010 to 8,579 by 2018’s final estimate. Juneau lost 90 people from 2010 to 2018, going from a population of 2,814 to 2,724.
“An estimated 56.1% of employed Dodge County residents work in the county,” the study said. “This percentage ranks 53rd among all Wisconsin counties. More Dodge County residents flow into Washington County than any other county, with over an estimated 4,000 folks heading east for work. The county, along with seven others, is part of the Milwaukee-Racine-Waukesha Combined Statistical Area, due largely to commuting from Dodge into Washington and Waukesha counties.”
An estimated 66.6% of workers in Dodge County live in the county.
“This percentage is the 15th lowest among all 72 Wisconsin counties,” the study said, “meaning a comparatively high percentage of those who work in Dodge County reside outside of the county. More than one out of every nine workers in Dodge County comes from Fond du Lac County, double the presence of any other neighboring county. Dodge has prisons and several large private firms near its border with Fond du Lac County.”
Dodge County’s 2018 annual unemployment rate of 2.6% is lower than the United States’ 3.9% and Wisconsin’s 3% and is tied for the sixth lowest among Wisconsin’s counties. The county’s annual unemployment rate peak of 9.6% amidst the Great Recession is tied for the 38th lowest in the state. The Dodge County rate has decreased every year since 2009, and its 2018 value is the lowest over the time horizon studied.
From 2010 to 2018, Dodge County’s total population grew an estimated 1.3%, and its labor force increased 1.9%.
“While comparable to 2000 to 2010 changes, these figures are considerably smaller than the 1990 to 2000 increases for population at 12.2% and the labor force at 20.3%,” the study noted. “Many counties face demographic headwinds for future growth. The labor force participation rate for the county, or the percent of the civilian non-institutional population age 16 and over who are either employed or unemployed is 70.1 %.
“Jobs have been added every year since 2013, but for the growth to continue, employers may need to address work barriers that are deterring some potential candidates,” the study’s authors wrote.
Dodge County added 184 jobs from 2017 to 2018, growing 0.5%. The education and health services sector added the most jobs at 273, while natural resources and mining grew at the fastest rate at 7.6%. Five out of 11 sectors increased in employment.
“Manufacturing continues to serve as the dominant super-sector, with more than 29% of the county’s jobs,” the study said.
The annual average wage for all industries in Dodge County is $44,736 and this is 8.5% lower than the equivalent state figure of $48,891.
The DWD’s new 2019 County Workforce Profiles are publications that provide data on workforce population and demographics, economic outlooks, employment and wage data, as well as industry and occupational projections, by county.
They are written by the DWD’s regional economists.
“DWD’s staff of economists work with state and local partners to provide analysis and insights into pressing workforce development challenges,” Secretary Caleb Frostman said. “The County Workforce Profiles are another tool we provide to our partners to help them make informed decisions on policy, economic outreach, workforce development and county planning.”