Saturday, April 19, 2014

More on March jobs- with nationwide comparisons

Yesterday had the monthly state-by-state jobs release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and it had a number of interesting data points that show us where Wisconsin is at.

First, let's go with the Walker Administration's spin on things. Not surprisingly, Walker campaign worker DWD Secretary Reggie Newson was out with another "it's working" news release, which failed to mention the downward revision of 3,700 jobs for February.
Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Reggie Newson today issued the following statement on today's U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report. The report shows Wisconsin had statistically significant growth year-over-year in private-sector and total non-farm jobs and the state's unemployment rate fell to 5.9%, the lowest rate since November 2008:

"The release today of the latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report shows that Wisconsin has added tens of thousands of private-sector jobs, while Wisconsin's unemployment rate continues to decrease with a 'statistically significant' drop between March 2013 and March 2014," Secretary Newson said. "With Wisconsin's unemployment rate at a five-year low, Wisconsin is well-positioned to increase opportunities for working families."
That makes it look like Wisconsin is some kind of standout, but a look at the state-by-state report shows we're not very special at all. It shows half of the states in America had a "statistically significant" drop in unemployment rates the last 12 months, and that doesn't even include places like Minnesota and Iowa that already had unemployment at an extremely low rate last year, so it couldn't fall much further. 26 of the 50 states had a "statistically significant" increase in jobs, and Wisconsin's case is especially noteworthy because the BLS was counting the 8,500 GOVERNMENT jobs added in Wisconsin over the last 12 months (the same government jobs that used to be evil and wasteful in 2011 Fitzwakerstan but apparently are OK now).

When private sector job growth for the last 12 months is compared to the rest of the Midwest and especially the nation as a whole, Wisconsin's numbers for the last year look quite mediocre.

Private sector job growth, Midwest and U.S., Mar 2013- Mar 2014
U.S. 1.99%
Ind. +1.83%
Minn +1.77%
Ohio +1.35%
Wis. +1.24%
Iowa +1.19%
Mich +0.67%
Ill. +0.61%

It's an equally subpar performance when you look at Wisconsin's track record in job creation the last 2 years.

Private sector job growth, Midwest and U.S., Mar 2012- Mar 2014
U.S. 3.91%
Minn +3.77%
Mich +3.20%
Ind. +2.85%
Ohio +2.51%
Wis. +2.40%
Iowa +2.23%
Ill. +1.59%

In fact, Wisconsin's March-to-March job growth for each of the last 2 years is worse than the rate we had from March 2010 to March 2011- which happens be 12 months leading up to Act 10.

Private sector job growth, March 2010-March 2013
March 2010-March 2011 +1.50%
March 2011-March 2012 +1.89%
March 2012-March 2013 +1.14%
March 2013-March 2014 +1.24%

So much for the ideas that Act 10 and retaining Walker in the 2012 recall election removed "uncertainty" and caused job growth to take off. In fact, it looks like it did the exact opposite, making us stagnate instead of continuing to grow.

Now if there's a bright spot for the Fitzwalkerstanis, it's that Wisconsin wasn't the only state whose job numbers suffered from the polar vortex winter. The tepid job private sector job growth of 900 total jobs in Q1 2014 don't look so bad when you realize only 2 of other 6 Midwestern states added jobs over that same time period (Ohio and Minnesota). Maybe all of this pent-up demand gets unlocked as Spring finally appears in these parts (unless you live north of Hwy. 29), and then job growth bounces back accordingly. But I also see that Wisconsin had over 10,000 new unemployment claims in the last week listed, and only 7 other states had more. That's not a good stat when you're 20th in population.

Bottom line is that the Walker campaign is trying to spin that Wisconsin's economy is turning around and going in the right direction. I see no evidence of that from the recent jobs reports, and in fact, any job growth seems to continue to be a product of the Obama Recovery dragging us ahead IN SPITE of Walker/WisGOP policies, not because of them.


  1. Don't forget that while it was passed in March 2011, Act 10" was injuncted from being published for a few months, so its first day of being in force was June 29th, 2011 (although not all of it at that time: some parts had been injuncted by other courts).

    "in fact, any job growth seems to continue to be a product of the Obama Recovery dragging us ahead IN SPITE of Walker/WisGOP policies, not because of them."

    There's a simple visualization of this. Here is Wisconsin losing jobs under Doyle in 2009. Note that there are 50 governors whose economic leadership is appalling according to Walker's theory. Here is Wisconsin gaining jobs during Walker's tenure. Four years later there are 49 governors whose economic leadership is outstanding according to Walker.

    ...and that's why we should look at rankings.

    1. Correct, Geoff- This is why we compare state vs state, to stop the argument of "But Obama....argle bargle...."

      I still bring up Match 2011 as the Act 10 cutoff because the Fitzwalkerstanis tried to sell "uncertainty" as a reason job growth was slow between 2011 and 2012, and to show that screwing over the public sector didn't cause an offsetting gain in the private sector (as was sold in right-wing world).

      By any measure THESE GUYS WERE WRONG AND HAVE HELD US BACK. That's the point, and I wish Burke and the WisDems would get on the stick about it

    2. Here you go.

      Although the reporting there is wrong: while some conditions have improved, it's still the case that Walker hasn't yet managed a calendar year growth rate in private sector jobs that equals that of 2010 and it's still the case that there are more adults who don't have a job now than the day he was sworn in.