Saturday, March 29, 2014

More on the economic hole Wisconsin is in

I hadn't updated the information from the Philadelphia Federal Reserve's coincident index for all 50 states- illustrating economic growth or contraction. Just to review, here's how this index is constructed.
The coincident indexes combine four state-level indicators to summarize current economic conditions in a single statistic. The four state-level variables in each coincident index are nonfarm payroll employment, average hours worked in manufacturing, the unemployment rate, and wage and salary disbursements deflated by the consumer price index (U.S. city average). The trend for each state’s index is set to the trend of its gross domestic product (GDP), so long-term growth in the state’s index matches long-term growth in its GDP.
The most recent update to this index only goes through January's numbers, but since we haven't talked about it here in the last 3 months or so, it's probably a good time to give it a look and see where we stand.

The state ended the year on a strong note, with good job numbers in the last 6 months of 2013, and it's reflected in the Philly Fed index, which rose 1.94% for Wisconsin between July 2013-January 2014. However, as this chart shows, it doesn't come close to making up for the awful first 2 1/2 years of the Age of Fitzwalkerstan, which put Wisconsin in a major hole compared to every one of its Midwestern neighbors, as well as the U.S's. As a result we are still dead last among this group since Walker and WisGOP came to power in January 2011, despite the gains from the last 6 months measured.

It's also worth mentioning that this index doesn't include the 9,500 jobs lost in Wisconsin in February, which increased the Walker jobs gap to 54,000. Nor has it taken into account that month's drops in home sales, so it's likely that the coincident index numbers will be worse when the February report comes out in the next week or so.

It's actually been quite amusing to see the Walker Administration try to play whack-a-mole with their pathetic economic performance, propping up certain jobs numbers one month, then hiding them the next and trying to promote the Philly Fed index (either current or its outlook), and then going onto some WMC-funded survey or some other bullshit when that inevitably makes them look bad. If we had a real media or a Democratic Party that was playing to win in Wisconsin, these guys would be laughed off the stage, and would be fired for their 3+ years of underperformance.

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