Friday, March 23, 2012

Another month, another update for the Walker jobs deficit

When I came back from some out-of-town work Thursday afternoon, I saw a headline for what appeared to be a pretty good February Wisconsin jobs report- 8,300 jobs added and unemployment staying at 6.9%. But the Walker Administration was strangely quiet over this one, and after reading the actual report, I could see why.

The biggest reasons behind the job "growth" were largely cosmetic. January's jobs figures were revised down by 7,300, and the Cap Times article says it's in no small part because of a tweak in the UW System's schedule for this year that had the schools starting their Spring semester one week later than usual.
"That appears largely due to college students returning to campus after the semester break," says John Dipko, a spokesman for DWD. "Many of them may have started working in the latter part of January and are now being included in the February estimates."
This helped revise state government jobs down by a seasonally-adjusted 5,500 for January, and led to a "rise" in the following month of February of 4,300 - more than half the job growth for the entire state.

But those weren't the only revisions, as private sector employment in January was also reduced by 1,900, which means the 4,000 increase over January is really only 2,100 when you subtract that downward revision (and due to the UW adjustment, total employment is only up 1,000 from the initial January figures). As a result of these downward revisions, the Walker jobs gap between Wisconsin and the growth rest of the nation continues to be unacceptably huge.

All jobs - Walker jobs gap = 58,650

Private sector - Walker jobs gap = 50,900

And even some of that private sector job growth is much like January's alleged "growth"- it reflects fewer layoffs than are typical for the month instead of more people actually working. More than half of the increase in private sector jobs came in Construction, but the non-seasonally adjusted numbers show that the number of people actually working construction went down by 300. Of course, the BLS adjusts these figures because typically February is too cold to have lots of construction in Wisconsin, so this is how that drop of 300 people can become a gain of 2,100. But this wasn't an ordinary February, as it was part of 3rd warmest winter in Wisconsin history, and as mentioned previously the good winter weather has probably accelerated home building and home sales, skewing the numbers higher.

I wouldn't doubt if we see a similar effect with this record March. For example, I'm already seeing large amounts of green grass on the lawns and orange barrels coming onto the roads over the last month, and this was happening in Madison 3 weeks ahead of schedule.

But even with the weather and boosts from other seasonal factors and the strengthening U.S. economy that Wisconsin has received over the last 2 months, Walker and WisGOP's jobs record is still awful. There are still fewer people working than when Walker took office at the start of 2010, and over 21,000 fewer jobs than there were when Act 10 was passed. No wonder Walker and Reggie Newson in DWD didn't say much when the jobs numbers came out yesterday, because the less attention given to their brutal record, the better.

No comments:

Post a Comment