Saturday, December 8, 2012

U.S. keeps growing jobs as Wisconsin stalls out

More evidence this week of "same story, different month" when it comes to the U.S. economy's recovery and Wisconsin's continued lagging in the age of Fitzwalkerstan.

First bit of evidence came from Thursday's weekly jobless claims report. It showed U.S. unemployment claims were coming back to normal after the disruptions from Hurricane Sandy, with new claims back to a seasonally-adjusted 370,000, which is around the level it was before Sandy.

The state numbers lag the national ones by a week, and use non-seasonally adjusted data. This is important to note because it included the week of Thanksgiving, which usually drives unadjusted claims lower simply because there are fewer days in the week that the claims office is open. However, this was not the case in Wisconsin.
The largest increases in initial claims for the week ending November 24 were in Wisconsin (+5,876), Oregon (+2,328), Ohio (+2,252), Washington (+2,107), and Iowa (+1,262), while the largest decreases were in New Jersey (-23,966) [Sandy effect] , California (-7,053), New York (-6,682), Texas (-6,425) and North Carolina (-2,609).
Yep, we're number 1 yet again in a dubious stat. Now, some of those layoffs were probably shutdowns due to deer hunting (our numbers usually spike around Thanksgiving for that and other seasonal reasons like construction ending), but lots of other states have deer hunting this time of year, and they didn't get increases like this.

And it also continues a trend where Wisconsin's unemployment claims are basically at the same levels as they were this time last year. This is remarkable because the U.S. has had year-over-year drops in unemployment claims of more than 5% in 17 of the last 19 weeks, which will happen in a recovering economy. By comparison, Wisconsin has only had drops over 5% 3 times in the last 8 weeks, and claims have actually been UP 2 of those times.

This chart shows that the bad, upward trend in year-over-year claims, and we are seeing nowhere near the improvement we had from 2009-2010 (shown with the blue line), the year before Scott Walker and the Wisconsin GOP took power.

So we'll see what kind of unemployment clams the week after Thanksgiving holds, because it's a traditional layoff time for outdoor employment.

The other evidence that Wisconsin continues to be left out came from Friday's jobs report, which showed 146,000 more jobs and unemployment dropping down to 7.7%. It wasn't the greatest jobs report, as previous months were revised down by 49,000, making the net gain only 97,000. But especially given the damage from Sandy and probable layoffs from campaign workers with the election over, that's still pretty good.

And as mentioned before, this growth continues to make Gov. Walker's bad jobs record look even worse, as Wisconsin now needs to have created 3,700 jobs in November in order to get the Walker jobs gap below 100,000. With the high unemployment claims in Dairyland, I wouldn't bet too much on us getting under 6 figures.

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