New quarterly census job count data shows Wisconsin gained almost 40,000 private-sector jobs from March 2014 to March 2015, including almost 6,300 jobs in manufacturing. In addition, quarterly wages by covered private-sector employers grew by 4.5 percent over the same quarter in 2014.At first glance, that seems pretty good, since the last "gold standard" QCEW report had Wisconsin adding 35,759 in the previous 12-month period, and because the lowest amount of total jobs usually happen in the first three months of the year, it means Wisconsin's rate of growth picked up to its fastest levels over the last 3 years measured.
The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) today released the state's Quarterly Census of Employment & Wages (QCEW) covering the first quarter of 2015. The data is based on actual job reports from over 135,000 Wisconsin employers.
Without context, these improving job stats would lead to an argument that Wisconsin's economy was finally turning the corner in early 2015. BUUUUT, we know there is context that has to be said, and it makes these QCEW figures look even much less impressive. First of all, the U.S. job market was still growing much faster than Wisconsin was in this time period - with private sector growth peaking at around 2.6%, well above Wisconsin's 1.72%. And this type of lagging also likely means Wisconsin continued to be in the bottom half of job growth in the U.S. when the nationwide QCEW figures get released next month, which will be yet another strike going against the Walker 2016 campaign.
Even more alarming is that the QCEW's tale of job growth is much less than what was being reported in the monthly jobs reports that came out of the DWD back in Spring.
Wisconsin job growth Mar 2014 - Mar 2015
Monthly report private +48,200
QCEW report private +39,652 (-8,548)
Monthly report total +53,300
QCEW report total +39,599 (-13,701)
That's quite a big difference, and likely means that Wisconsin's monthly job totals will be revised down early next year, which would make the already-huge Walker jobs gap even larger. That number stood at well over 96,000 private sector jobs after June's report and the U.S.'s upward revisions, and we find out tomorrow if it got even bigger in July. As you can see in this chart, we'll need another 4,500 private sector jobs added in tomorrow's report just to keep pace.
And the fact that the always-political Walker DWD chose to release the QCEW figures a day before that regular report should give you pause. They usually just include it as part of the regular release, which indicates they wanted the news to talk about this separately from the July jobs report, and get some positive headlines ahead of the Marquette Law Poll that also comes out midday tomorrow. Think these guys might have an idea that both of tomorrow's reports won't reflect very well on the Dear Leader?