Thursday, April 18, 2013

March jobs- DWD can't hide the fail

  I had guessed that March's Wisconsin job picture didn't have much of a chance of being good. The weather had been awful, the U.S. only created 88,000 jobs that month, and there's been no indication we're going to break out of our "44th in the nation"-type performance any time soon.  But I saw the DWD release, and immediately was...confused.

   The press release starts out talking about large upward revisions in February and a number of other non-sequitirs. Check it out.
The Department of Workforce Development (DWD) today released the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) revisions for February and preliminary estimates for March, covering unemployment and employment statistics for the state of Wisconsin. In brief, the estimates showed:

Place of work data: Upward revision to seasonally adjusted total job number in February by 2,900 to show an estimated gain of 15,000. Upward revision to seasonally adjusted private-sector job number in February by 3,000 to show an estimated gain of 700.

A preliminary seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 7.1 percent in March, reflecting a decline from the preliminary rate of 7.2 percent in February, which was revised to 7.1 percent.

The rate is up from 6.9 percent in March 2012 and below the national unemployment rate of 7.6 percent.

The BLS monthly place of work data is based on a monthly survey of approximately 5,500 Wisconsin employers(3.5 percent), called the Current Employment Statistics (CES). BLS monthly place of residence data, based on Unemployment Insurance claims and a monthly survey of 1,450 Wisconsin households (0.1 percent), are calledthe Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS). Preliminary March totals for CES and LAUS will undergorevisions in the weeks ahead.

The most accurate count of jobs data, the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW), is based on a census of approximately 95-96 percent of Wisconsin employers. QCEW data for all of 2012 will be available later this year. Recently, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released data showing Wisconsin added 20,479 privatesector jobs from September 2011 to September 2012. From December 2010 to December 2011, Wisconsin added 29,800 jobs, according to BLS.
That's all fine to let us know about, and the release goes on to discuss income tax revenues and a few other stats. BUT WHAT ABOUT THE MARCH 2013 FIGURES? I looked at Page 2, and realized they were sending me "Non-seasonally adjusted" numbers where they'd usually show the seasonally-adjusted ones that everyone reports.
  I finally had to go down to the bottom of Page 3 to find what DWD was trying to hide from us.  1,100 private sector jobs lost in March, and 8,500 lost overall. Some of this is a seasonally-related springback from the "upwardly revised" government employment in February, which showed 14,300 government jobs "added" on a seasonally-adjusted basis, so 7,400 of them were "taken away" in March. Take the two months together, and you get an addition of 6,900 since January, which undercounted government jobs due to a late MLK Holiday. So we're getting back to normal with that stat, anyway.
  But the private sector job loss in March means the state's mediocre record of job creation in the Age of Fitzwalkerstan continues. In fact, there has been a huge slowdown compared to where we were this time last year, as the amount of job growth has gone down BY TWO-THIRDS compared to the year before.
  Private sector job change, Wisconsin, 12 months
   March 2011- March 2012 +44,900
   March 2012- March 2013 +14,800
  And this is reflected in the Walker jobs gap, which already trailed the U.S. pace this time last year, but any job creation we had plateaued in the last year while the US keeps on moving along.
OK, but maybe it's just a seasonal-employment thing, and once the weather warms, we'll be on our way back. Well, the weather hasn't warmed up yet, and the April jobs report is already being surveyed. And if the weekly unemployment claims are any indication of where we're heading, it's not good.

Year-over-year change in weekly jobless claims, Wisconsin
March 2 -691
March 9 -847
March 16 -167
March 23 -254
March 30 +2,420
April 6 +1,385

So not only are we having year-over-year increases in jobless claims now, but we added so few jobs in March that we were down for that month on a seasonally-adjusted basis. Can't imagine that we've had a lot of seasonal jobs in this state so far in April, given that I look out my window and I still see no trees in bloom and the grass hasn't had to be cut yet. Tomorrow's state-by-state report will probably add to the evidence of Walker's failures in office, and yes, I plan to mention something about it when it hits.

You may ask why I have to keep driving home this reality? Because propaganda outlets like AM620 and AM1130 are relaying BS from the MacIver Institute claiming "137,000 jobs being added," which even the Journal-Sentinel's Politifact had to call out as a "pants on fire" lie (Shoot JS, I told you that more than a week ago). When you're lying, you're losing, and the Fitzwalkerstanis are definitely losing when it comes to job creation in Wisconsin.

No wonder Gov. Walker is running off to China and messing around halfway across the globe. In addition to avoiding having to deal with half the state being flooded, going overseas also means he doesn't have to answer questions about another month of failed policies on jobs.

1 comment:

  1. It's not just the FitzWalkerstanis who are losing when it comes to job creation in Wisconsin - it's all other Wisconsinites as well.

    I don't usually mind the front-page spin of the DWD releases so much - after all, it's a normal part of selling the state as a place where you might get a job or there might be demand for your business' products. But this month the spinners are clearly just trying too hard and it shows: they should have at least mentioned the impact of the much later winter than last year.

    One thing that the non-seasonally adjusted page 2 data show you is the year-on-year change: +8,600 in the private sector. The reason that differs from your +14,800 figure is the March 2013 seasonal adjustment was 6,200 greater than March 2012's, a magnitude of change that hasn't stood up historically to later revisions.

    Alternatively, we have the data to add the March 2012 - September 2012 (not seasonally adjusted) QCEW change to the not-seasonally-adjusted September 2012 - March 2013 CES change, in which case we get +14,166.

    That can be compared to the +20,479/yr that gave us 44th place for the QCEW September 2011 - September 2012, or the +62,500/yr that were needed from the start of 2011 to reach Walker's promise, or the +110,700/yr that are currently required between now and December 2014 to get there.

    We're not going to move out of the 40s in the QCEW rankings any time soon. Here's hoping for better numbers this summer.