Making life saving machines in Madison (copy)

Lilian Mattila, a worker at the GE Healthcare Life Care Solutions plant, 3030 Ohmeda Drive, assembles a mechanical respirator that will become part of an anesthesia machine. Wages are up for healthcare and information technology jobs in Dane County.

JOHN HART — State Journal

In what local officials call a sign of the area’s robust recovery, private sector wages in Dane County jumped 9.3 percent over the past 12 months, the second largest increase in the nation.

Only San Mateo County, southwest of San Francisco, saw average wages grow at a faster rate, according to figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released this week.

The Dane County wage numbers were included in the quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (CEW), the same that showed Wisconsin 35th among states in private sector job growth.

Areas like healthcare, information technology and education services were driving the pay increase, with wages in those sectors jumping by double digits. Construction wages in Dane County were also up sharply.

Paul Jadin, president of the business boosting Madison Region Economic Partnership or MadREP (formerly Thrive), says the jump in wages here is reflective of the region’s strength in higher-paying, technology-based sectors.

“What is most telling to me is how it shows Dane County doesn’t rely on manufacturing as much as the rest of the state,” he says.

Manufacturing wages in Dane County were up only 2.7 percent over the past year, with about 24,000 workers in that sector out of a population of 503,000.

Ken Harwood, who edits Wisconsin Development News, credits Epic Systems for contributing to the wage growth. The Verona-based medical records giant is the Dane County’s largest private sector employer with more than 6,000 staffers.

“Epic is bringing in all these kids and paying them $50,000 or $60,000 right out of college,” he says.

But Aaron Olver, economic development director for the city of Madison, was quick to caution that Epic Systems accounts for only 2 percent of total employment in Dane County and doesn't account for the entire pay boost.

“While Epic certainly has an important impact, this top-line growth in wages reflects a more robust economy,” says Olver.

One potential quirk in the data is the line showing a nearly 49 percent increase in wages in the education and health services sector, with 189 new establishments formed over the past 12 months.

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Jadin had no explanation for those figures and said it may take some more research to figure out what was accounting for that huge figure.

“It might be related to Obamacare but we’ll need to do more drilling down to determine what it is,” he said.

Dane County Executive Joe Parisi cheered the numbers, saying it shows the attractiveness of the region, its outdoor recreation, arts scene and diverse communities.

“Dane County leads the state in high-tech employment growth,” he says. “We have a culture of collaboration and innovation that suits this industry very well.”

The CEW is considered by most the economists the “gold standard” of data since it relies on actual job data gathered from 95 percent of U.S. employers. The data set released this week is for the 12-month period from September 2012 through September 2013.

Dane County private sector jobs data, September 2013

Supersector # of businesses Employees Avg. weekly wage 12-month % wage change 12-month wage change
Education and Health Services 1,589 35,586 $1,332 +48.8% +$437
Information 287 12,360 $1,439 +10.6% +$138
Construction 1,178 12,647 $1,150 +7.4% +$79
Professional & Business Services 2,822 41,212 $997 +5.1% +$48
Financial Activities 1,338 23,912 $1,170 +4.4% +$49
Goods-Producing 1,883 37,846 $1,055 +4.2% +$43
Manufacturing 585 23,294 $1,029 +2.7% +$27
Leisure & Hospitality 1,442 29,362 $284 +2.2% +$6
Other Services 1,882 10,663 $651 +2.2% +$14
Trade, Transportation & Utilities 2,694 48,516 $710 +1.3% +$9
Natural Resources & Mining 120 1,905 $740 -2.9% -$22

Madison's tallest buildings

Recorded height refers to historic reports, building records, interviews and data from Emporis, a leading provider of building information and construction projects.

Pictometry height refers to measurements made using a geographic information system (GIS). It captures any structure on top of a building including antennas, satellite dishes or mechanical equipment.

Building Floors Recorded height* Pictometry height* Year completed
State Capitol 5 284 ft. 283 ft. 1917
Atmosphere, Ocean, Space (UW) 15 204 ft. 258 ft. 1969
Van Hise Hall 19 241 ft. 231 ft. 1966
Wis Institutes for Med Research 8 210 ft. 210 ft. 2008
Engineering Research (UW) 16 195 ft. 209 ft. 1969
UW Hospital 8 144 ft. 200 ft. 1972
Am Fam Children's Hospital 6 171 ft. 196 ft. 2007
Hilton Hotel 14 NA 196 ft. 2001
WARF Office Building 14 181 ft. 190 ft. 1970
DeLuca Biochemistry Labs (UW) 5 179 ft. NA 1998
State DOA Building 101 E. Wilson 10 NA 187 ft. 1992
State Office Building 1 W. Wilson 13 177 ft. 183 ft. 1939
Marina Condos 14 NA 183 ft. 2005
131 W. Wilson (Paisan's) 12 NA 178 ft. 1970
316 W. Wash (AT&T) 11 NA 176 ft 1971
Meriter Hospital 202 S. Park 11 NA 173 ft. 2007
222 W. Washington Ave. 10 NA 172 ft. 1972
University Square 12 164 ft. 171 ft. 2008
Metropolitan Place II 333 W. Wash 13 135 ft. 171 ft. 2007
Meriter Retirement 110 S. Henry 15 NA 171 ft. 1975
UW Microbial Sciences 6 NA 170 ft. 2007
Public Safety (Dane Courthouse) 8 NA 165 ft. 2006
Educational Sciences (UW) 13 154 ft. 164 ft. 1972
Grainger Hall (UW) 6 NA 162 ft. 1993
Churchill Bldg. (16 N. Carroll) 9 134 ft. 161 ft. 1915
Edgewater Hotel (new) 15 159 ft. NA 2014
Constellation Apartments 12 158 ft. NA 2013
Hovde Building (122 W. Wash) 10 134 ft. 157 ft. 1928
100 Wisconsin Ave. (condos) 12 157 ft. 157 ft. 2001
22 E. Mifflin 10 NA 156 ft. 1998
Capitol Center 333 W. Dayton 17 119 ft. 155 ft. 1982
Capitol Point 125 N. Hamilton 12 NA 155 ft. 2002
Grand Central Apt (1022 W. Johnson) 13 NA 154 ft. 2009
First Congregational Church NA NA 154 ft. 1930
Concourse Hotel 13 NA 153 ft. 1974
Nolen Shore condominiums 12 149 ft. 150 ft. 2006
Animal Sciences (UW) 11 149 ft. 150 ft. 1972
Chemistry Building (UW) 9 141 ft. 147 ft. 2002
Madison Mark Apts 132 E. Wilson 12 NA 146 ft. 2005
Camp Randall Stadium NA NA 146 ft. 2005
Embassy Apts 505 Univ Av 12 NA 146 ft. 2001
Tenney Plaza 10 125 ft. 145 ft. 1929
Capitol West 309 W. Wash 11 133 ft. 144 ft. 2008
Van Vleck Hall (UW) 8 NA 146 ft. 1961
Belmont Hotel (YWCA) 12 140 ft. 141 ft. 1924
Science Hall (UW) 6 145 ft. 140 ft. 1887
Equinox Apts 409 W. Gorham 12 NA 140 ft. 2005
Inn on the Park 8 NA 139 ft. 1961
The Loraine (condos) 10 143 ft. 129 ft. 1925
Hyatt Place 11 126 ft. 126 ft. 2010