Sunday, March 11, 2018

Another look at last week's jobs info

Now that I'm back to a place where there is snow on the ground and I can get to my laptop, I wanted to put up a few graphics that go with some of the economic information we saw in the past week.

First of all, I wanted to go back to the "gold standard" Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, which showed Wisconsin again trailing the rest of the nation for job growth, and that gains had been cut in half over the last 2 years. When you look at the monthly stats, you'll see that June's relatively strong number of 35,381 private sector jobs gained was a fluke, and that the last 2 years have seen a notable decline in growth from the prior years.

When you look at that jobs figure as a RATE, it's even worse, as Wisconsin's rate of private sector job growth is consistently falling short of 1% for the first time in 7 years.

Isn't it amazing how most of the best numbers were right before Walker/WisGOP policies like Act 10 and the 2011-13 budget took effect? And how things got worse when Walker cut the daylights out of things to cover his budget deficit in 2015, while Scotty was out failing miserably in his run for president?

Also, I got a chance to chart the new US jobs figures, and it shows that even before Wisconsin's numbers get revised downward tomorrow (due to benchmarking to the QCEW figures), the Walker jobs gap had expanded past 120,000 in the private sector by the end of 2017.

In addition, when I look at the national jobs figures, one thing that stands out is that manufacturing jobs have bounced back in since the end of 2016, with 263,000 more jobs in that sector (MAGA? Even if the wages are still "meh"). But that fact combined with the QCEW stats shows that Walker's and WisGOP's "big giveaway" of near-zero tax rates for manufacturers has done NOTHING to give Wisconsin added jobs in that area.

Manufacturing job growth, Sept 2016- Sept 2017
US +1.05%
Wis +1.00%

I'm betting GOP hack Noah Williams won't bring these numbers up the next time he tries to use the UW's good name to justify that garbage tax cut.

I also got a better chance to dig into the county-wide stats from the QCEW survey for Wisconsin, and as usual, much of Wisconsin was left out of the meager job gains. 25 of the states 72 counties lost private sector jobs in the survey, and even Dane County leveled off from the strong growth it had for the previous several years.

Private sector job growth Sept 2016- Sept 2017
Waukesha Co +2,839
Brown County +2,345
Kenosha Co. +2,305
Dane County +1,325
Rock County +1,113
Washington Co. +926
Eau Claire Co. +859
Sheboygan Co. +852

That helps explain why a desperate Scott Walker now wants a $50-million-a-year "rural WEDC" program, doesn't it? Also worth noting, all 8 of these counties had average private-sector wages DROP vs Sept 2016, and 7 of the 8 had larger declines than the 1.1% decline we saw statewide.

There's a lot more to dig into over the coming days and weeks, but it seems pretty evident that Wisconsin fell even further behind the rest of the country than we previously knew, and that much of the state is doing even worse than that.

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