This week featured another Wisconsin jobs report, and it was a relatively good one, with 7,300 private sector jobs added, and 6,100 overall. Some of the private sector growth was offset by downward revisions for July by 1,800, meaning July actually had a seasonally-adjusted loss of jobs by 100. But even if you knock off the July loss, 6,000 private sector jobs gained in two months is in line with the seasonally-adjusted increase of 35,000 private sector jobs in Wisconsin for the last 12 months.
If we go inside the numbers for August, there are a couple of standout figures. The first is the increase in Construction jobs, 3,300 on a seasonally-adjusted basis, and 2,000 on a non-seasonally adjusted one. This means that seasonal layoffs in construction aren't happening, and instead we're seeing hiring in late Summer. Now, we'd only gained 1,000 jobs in the Construction sector for the 11 months before August 2013, so it remains to be seen if this is a sign of growth, or just a one-month fluke of timing. But certainly good news if you work in those industries.
On the flip side are the job stats in Manufacturing for Wisconsin. July was revised down by 2,500 jobs on a seasonally-adjusted basis, and 500 more Manufacturing jobs were lost in August, for a total of 3,000 fewer Manufacturing jobs than we thought we had this time last month. Some of this was expected, as Page 2 of this month's U.S. jobs report pointed out "auto manufacturers laid off more workers for model changeover in July than in recent years," and there were big downward revisions in Manufacturing for July nationwide.
But this doesn't explain the slippage we saw in Wisconsin for August, and it doesn't explain why we've seen 6,600 manufacturing jobs go away in Wisconsin over the last 6 months.
And yes, Wisconsin is ahead of the nation's in adding manufacturing jobs since Gov. Walker took office in January 2011. But as I brought up while debunking WMC's lies about Walker's job record, Wisconsin has the 2nd-highest percentage of jobs in manufacturing in the country, so we should be ahead of the national rate when manufacturing jobs are being added.
We've had a nice runup in jobs since the disasters in March and April, but the losses in those two months and the stagnation before that leave us well into the hole compared to the rest of the country. Despite some recent narrowing, the Walker jobs gap is still nearly 40,000 jobs overall, and nearly 50,000 in the private sector.
And keep your eyes peeled on the next two months, as kids go back to school and seasonal jobs end. That caused a lot of the "increases" in May and June, as those kinds of jobs had more hiring than normal, and if those jobs aren't maintained in Fall, we'll see those turn into job "losses" in the next couple of reports.