Definition of "Labor Market": 

The number of workers who are available to be hired.

What is Going on With our Labor Market?

What Does This Mean to You?

What Can YOU Do About it?

Today's labor market is considered a "job seeker's market" or a "tight labor market", however, locally we see some employers are more selective now in their hiring practices.

Essentially, this means there are more available jobs than people looking for one, though it is still very beneficial to be well-prepared with your application and interview-preparation.

You have time to be strategic in your job search in order to find an employer that would be a good fit for you! FSET is one resource that can help you with this!

Featured Occupation of the Month

HVAC Technician

(Heating, Ventilation, & Air Conditioning)

HVAC professionals are responsible for the installation and maintenance of the comfort systems in homes and businesses.  These systems are used to heat and cool the space, as well as provide improved indoor air quality.  

As one of the many “trades” careers available and in need of skilled/trained workers, a career in the HVAC industry can lead to secure, well-paid employment!

The average salary for an HVAC technician in Wisconsin is $49,500 per year.  However, salaries can range between $25,500 to $93,500, depending on various factors, including skills, experience, employer, bonuses, tips, and more.

Education Requirements to work in HVACHVAC training programs usually take anywhere between 6 months to three years to complete.

Locally, Mid-State Technical College offers an HVAC Installer Technical Diploma, which will ready you for an entry-level position in the HVAC fields. The program is done in-person, during the daytime, full-time or part-time, with 16-week classes or a varying class schedule.

It is a short term 25 credit program with fall and spring start dates. Total estimated cost for tuition, fees, books, and supplies is $5,188.80 (as of September 2023, per website). However, this program IS eligible for full Financial Aid. The FSET program can assist you in formulating your education goals, and seeking employment, if you choose to pursue an HVAC career.

There may also be apprenticeship opportunities available, which your case manager and the Career Services team can help you investigate.

Skills Required: What skills do you need to be a successful HVAC professional? 6 essential skills:

1) Problem-Solving Abilities & Critical Thinking - (an HVAC technician must be able to identify a problem & fix it!)  

2) Communication Skills & Customer Service (such as, listening to customers and explaining their service options) 

3) Trustworthiness & Responsibility (you are entering people's homes & businesses) 

4) Time Management Skills (showing up to jobs at the specified time, and completing jobs on time)

5) Comfort Working with Heavy Objects & Machinery/Maintenance 

6) Familiarity with Computers (looking up products, parts, ordering needed items, trouble-shooting, taking notes, billing, etc.)

Upon completion of your HVAC education,

you may enter the career field in a variety of positions, including:

Building Controls Technician,

HVAC Installer,

HVAC Mechanic,

or enter into an Apprenticeship for continued growth and experience!

The employment prospects are very high for HVAC Technicians in Wisconsin and elsewhere!

Ask your FSET Case Manager for more information

on the support opportunities available

for your HVAC education and employment goals!


How can your FSET Case Manager assist you in landing a new job?

Resume assistance

Help identifying skills, experience, interests.

Mock interviews

Job and interview readiness

Soft skills training

HSED and Driver’s License funding for classes

Current Workforce Information - Northcentral Region by County

Hot Jobs

The following are the most in-demand fields in the NorthCentral Region:

Heavy & Tractor-Trailer Truck Drivers

Sales, Manufacturing

Registered Nurses

General/Operations Manager

Medical Assistant



Insurance Sales Agents


Construction Workers

For more information, click HERE.

NorthCentral Region Unemployment Rates

Unemployment statistics pulled from Bureau of Labor Statistics run by the United States Department of Labor. For more information, go to

(not seasonally adjusted)

 CountyNov '23Oct '23

Sept '23



 Portage2.52.9 3.1

Food for Thought

Job Openings and Workforce Availability

(Source: US Department of Bureau and Labor Statistics)

If it seems like there are fewer "Help Wanted" or "We're Hiring" signs posted, this may be a sign that employers are finally recovering from the job crisis created by the COVID pandemic. Industries like hospitality, food service, and manufacturing faced particular difficulties during this time and when restrictions were lifted, it seemed like these employers could not hire people fast enough. Nowadays, hiring has slowed down dramatically, with Wisconsin having an overall 2.7 unemployment rate. This slowdown is consistent with the Society for Human Resource Management's forecast for the Labor Market in 2024. Roy Maurer of the Society for Human Resource Management predicts that hiring will slow down as employers try to backfill positions that already exist rather than create new ones.

However, it seems employers may face a challenge in filling those current job openings, as the US Bureau of Labor Statistics examines the number of job seekers per job opening (see graphic below). According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, Wisconsin only has 0.5 people to fill each job opening, meaning that for every registered unemployed person, there are two open positions available. While this number does not account for every person without a job as the Bureau cannot account for people who do not file for unemployment, this statistic shows that full recovery will be a slow, ongoing process with many challenges to face. To read more about Maurer's predictions for the 2024 Labor Market, click the link to the full article here: 2024 US Labor Market Forecast: Hiring to Slow, Unemployment to Rise (    


Address: Wood County Human Services - River Block

111 W. Jackson St., 2nd Floor, Wisconsin Rapids WI 54495  

Phone: +1 (715) 421-8608 8


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