Thursday, January 28, 2016

2015 marked a major slowdown for Wisconsin job growth

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released data this week showing how a bad last couple of months have caused Wisconsin to slip badly in the month-to-month jobs numbers, in comparison with the rest of the country. As the Cap Times’ Todd Milewski points out, the most recent figures left Wisconsin 38th in the nation for job growth in 2015, and the state had a much larger slowdown of job growth vs to what happened in the rest of the country.

Private sector job growth, BLS monthly survey
2014 +2.63% U.S., +1.86% Wis.
2015 +2.15% U.S., +0.96% Wis.

Milewski goes on to point out that Wisconsin continues to lag behind most of our Midwestern neighbors, and the only thing that kept Wisconsin out of the cellar among our Midwestern neighbors was the dysfunctional budget standoff in Illinois. And as UW’s Menzie Chinn at Econbrowser notes, not only was Wisconsin's low growth in 2015 well below the U.S. rate, that 0.96% also was well below the already-lagging amount of growth that we saw throughout Scott Walker’s and WisGOP’s first term in power. It was also well less than the allegedly struggling economy that they claimed they would turn around if they were put into office in 2010.

Obviously, these numbers are subject to revision, and we will have a sizable benchmarking coming up in about 6 weeks with the next monthly jobs report that could change the numbers for all months of 2015. But the Quarterly Census on Employment and Wages reports (which the benchmarks are based on) also show Wisconsin lagging the rest of the country, with figures similar to what we’re seeing from the monthly reports. So don’t expect a major boost in employment from those new benchmarks, and expect Wisconsin to continue to stay down in the rankings for the coming months.

And with a tight budget and a slowing national economy, does anyone see Wisconsin’s job growth coming out of the ditch anytime soon? Yeah, me neither.

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