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James O'Connor, right, works in a computer numeric control boot camp at Gateway Technical College in Racine.

Racine Journal Times

Wisconsin added 48,500 private-sector jobs in the 12-month period ending in April, preliminary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show.

That put Wisconsin 21st among the 50 states in job growth between April 2014 and April 2015.

The figures come from the Current Employment Statistics program, which surveys a small percentage of state employers to provide a preliminary reading on the economy. More complete statistics come six to nine months after the time covered in the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages.

In April, Wisconsin added 5,400 private-sector jobs, many of them in the manufacturing sector. (Explore our interactive graphic showing growth for specific sectors.)

That gave the state 2 percent growth over the last year and its highest ranking among the 50 states for year-over-year growth in the last 12 months.

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Wisconsin's manufacturing sector added 3,600 jobs between March and April in the preliminary seasonally adjusted estimates. The sector, which accounts for nearly one in five Wisconsin private sector jobs, grew by 11,000 jobs in the last 12 months, or 2.38 percent.

The state's unemployment rate fell to 4.4 percent in April as unemployment and labor force participation both decreased.

Todd D. Milewski covers Wisconsin Badgers men's hockey and the UW Athletic Department for the Wisconsin State Journal.