Saturday, March 15, 2014

Jobs stronger last few months, but still way down in Wisconsin

Wanted to throw this out there before I leave to watch some hoops today. Wisconsin's January jobs and 2013 benchmarked figures came out on Thursday. This is a bigger-than-normal report since it features last year's numbers being reconfigured to match more available data. Last year this worked to Gov Walker's benefit, as tens of thousands of more jobs than previously thought were added in 2012 (although it still left the numbers below-trend).

Well, the news wasn't quite as good for the Fitzwalkerstanis this time, but there were a few more thousand jobs in Wisconsin for 2013 than previously thought. And while the new benchmarks also showed that the last 6 months of 2013 had best job growth of the Walker era, it also should be noted that it followed the worst 12-month stretch of job growth in the Age of Fitzwalkerstan.

Wisconsin job changes, 2011-2013
Dec 2010-June '11 +11,300 total jobs, +13,800 private sector
Jun 2011- Dec '11 +18,000 total jobs, +22,900 private
Dec 2011- Jun '12 +21,400 total jobs, +21,000 private
Jun 2012= Dec '12 +13,200 total jobs, +13,200 private
Dec 2012- Jun '13 +11,700 total jobs, +14,100 private
Jun 2013- Dec '13 +34,800 total jobs, +25,300 private

So where does that put us compared to the rest of the nation, who also has had updated benchmarks? It means the Walker jobs gap has narrowed a bit in recent months (note the upslope near the end of both graphs), but we're still nearly 50,000 private sector jobs below the national rate, and the gap is 33,000 for all jobs.

So far the data for 2014 hasn't been very promising. It says there were 0 jobs created in Wisconsin's private sector for the first month of January, and February's higher layoffs could also portend a relatively weak report for that month. With the U.S. still creating more than 300,000 jobs combined for those two months, a chilled February jobs report (which comes out later this month) would put the state further in the hole. And that's nothing WisGOP needs to hear when right-wing polls already put the governor's race at 45-45 this week.

With that, I'm off to head downtown for hoops and a little pre-St. Pat's revelry. Hope you have some of the same.

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