Place of residence data: A preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 4.4 percent in April, down from 4.6 percent in March. The 4.4 percent rate is the state's lowest rate since April 2008 and is lower than the national unemployment rate of 5.4 percent in April. Wisconsin's total employment grew by 44,600 year-over-year while the number of unemployed declined by 33,900. Additionally, the state's labor force participation rate of 68 percent outpaced the national rate of 62.8 percent.Sounds really good at first glance. But take a look on page 3, and you'll see this stat when it comes to figuring the unemployment rate.
Place of work data: The state added a statistically significant 50,900 total non-farm jobs and 48,500 private sector jobs from April 2014 to April 2015 (seasonally adjusted). Other statistically significant changes include a year-over-year gain of 11,000 jobs and a month-over-month gain of 3,600 jobs in manufacturing, along with year-over-year gains of 8,200 jobs in construction and 4,500 jobs in financial activities. Wisconsin added 5,400 private-sector jobs over the month, and private-sector job totals remain above pre-recession levels.
April 2015 Wis labor force vs March 2015
Change in labor force -14,000
Change in employment -6,400
Change in unemployment -7,600
So that's why the unemployment rate dropped- 14,000 people left the work force! And that shrinking labor force has been the trend in Wisconsin for the last 3 months.
Wisconsin labor force
January 2015 3,120,800
April 2015 3,096,000
In fact, if the labor force stayed at January's higher level, and total employment in the survey remained the same, Wisconsin unemployment would be 5.2% instead of 4.4%
The monthly jobs report also included the preliminary release of Wisconsin's numbers for the "gold standard" Quarterly Census on Employment and Wages, which goes through the end of December 2014, and I'll contrast this passage
A gain of 35,736 private-sector jobs with 17,560 jobs added in three major sectors: construction, manufacturing and professional services.With this passage from the December 2014 Wisconsin jobs report four months ago.
A 12-month gain in private-sector jobs by a statistically significant 54,100 from December 2013 to December 2014 on a preliminary basis (seasonally adjusted), which is the highest December-to-December gain since 1999.So that "massive" job gain has dropped by nearly 18,400 jobs as the more accurate data has come in.
If I didn't know better, I'd swear there's something behind the Walker Administration's initial releases constantly being better than the reality we find out later. I'm not saying there is, but it's becoming a disturbing pattern.