Today featured the release of another bad job report in Wisconsin, as 10,500 jobs were lost on a seasonally-adjusted basis in September, and 8,500 in the private sector. Sure, the losses in August were lessened with revisions, showing a drop of only 2,700 private sector jobs instead of the 6,200 reported last month (total August jobs went from -2,900 to +100). But that’s still 11,200 private jobs out the door over the last 2 months, and it’s starting to become an alarming trend.
Because when you take a wider view, and look at the 6 months of Wisconsin jobs figures reported since the time period covered in the “gold standard” Quarterly Census on Employment (where Wisconsin only rated 33rd in the nation for March 2015-March 2016), things look really bad.
change in jobs, Wisconsin March-Sept 2016
Private sector -11,700
A main culprit in the bad September Wisconsin jobs report were the Leisure and Hospitality sector (aka bars, hotels, and restaurants), which had larger-than-normal seasonal layoffs, leading to a seasonally-adjusted loss of 4,000. Construction and Manufacturing also had losses in September, making for 3 straight months of losses in Manufacturing (granted August’s losses were smaller, from 4,500 to 1,000, but that’s still not good). And local government dropped 3,000 jobs in September, along with a downward revision of 500 for August. You have to wonder if that loss in local government reflects a loss of jobs in K-12 schools (because it really shows smaller-than-normal seasonal increases). If so, doesn’t that directly reflect Governor Walker and WisGOP following the ALEC agenda of defunding public schools and shifting resources to voucher schools?
Sure, the Wisconsin DWD’s news release leads with the state’s unemployment rate dropping to “4.1%,” but that’s really a drop from 4.19% to 4.147%, and Wisconsin’s increases in the labor force and number identifying as “employed” was relatively small (4,400 and 5,700, respectively). Those numbers shouldn’t seem surprising when you realize the US jobs report in September had 444,000 more in the work force and 354,000 more report as employed, and Wisconsin’s seasonally-adjusted increase in work force in September is still well below we were in March, meaning Wisconsin’s lower unemployment rate reflects slower population growth in Wisconsin over any kind of gain in jobs.
Change in work force, “employed” March-Sept 2016
Work Force -11,000
In fact Wisconsin may well be going the way of Kansas, which had an unemployment rate as low as 3.7% last May, even as its economy and budget was going down the tubes, because people who leave the state don’t count as “unemployed.” So let’s not quite break out the party hats for 4.1% unemployment, shall we?
In fact, the deterioration over the last 6 months in Wisconsin has exploded the Walker jobs gap, since the US has continued to add jobs over the same time period. We now are over 111,000 jobs in the hole for private sector jobs, and nearly 108,000 overall jobs. Both are the widest Walker jobs gaps yet.
So with 19 days before most of the State Legislature comes up for re-election, can you tell me why we should keep the same GOPs in charge that put us in that hole? None of these bad results will change until the lawmakers and their puppetmasters are tossed out for their bad performance. KNOW THIS.