The signs are everywhere. “Help wanted!” “Now hiring!” “Apply today!”

Employers throughout southeastern Wisconsin do not shy away from discussing how they are having a hard time finding the job candidates they need.

While the lack of available talent has been a common complaint amongst businesses over the past several years, data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics suggest average wages for private sector employees in Wisconsin have increased faster than the United States as a whole over roughly the past two years.

In May, for example, the average weekly private sector wage in Wisconsin increased 6.4 percent from the same time in 2017, to $869.66. Nationwide, the increase was 3.1 percent, to $923.98. Account for inflation and Wisconsin’s average wage was up $29.36 per week while the country’s was up just $2.27 per week.

Wage gains outpacing the national average are not a one-month phenomena for the state, either. Wisconsin averaged a year-over-year increase of 5.7 percent in the first five months of 2018, compared to 2.7 percent for the U.S. For all of 2017, the state averaged an increase of 3.6 percent, while the country averaged 2.8 percent.

Read more in BizTimes Milwaukee.