Thursday, August 22, 2013

Again, DWD tries to take credit for Obama recovery

Caught this funny press release, in another example of how the Walker Administration has sometimes made it hard to tell the difference between the Department of Workforce Development, and the Friends of Scott Walker. Check out how the DWD tries to make it seem like "it's working", and how prosperity is right around the corner in Wisconsin.
In another sign of Wisconsin’s improving economy, initial claims for Wisconsin Unemployment Insurance benefits have fallen below 8,000 for five consecutive weeks. Wisconsin has not had five straight weeks with initial claims below 8,000 since 2005.

“Initial and regular weekly claims have been declining for some time, but the initial claims total in the latest weekly report is especially welcome news,” DWD Secretary Reggie Newson said. “This is another sign of Wisconsin’s improving economy under Governor Walker’s leadership, and there is much more work to be done to create more jobs and prepare workers with the skills needed to fill those jobs.”

Wisconsin weekly initial claims first dipped below 8,000 in the week ending July 20, 2013, marking the first time they’ve been less than 8,000 since September 2007. The number has remained below 8,000 through the week ending August 17, totaling 7,625 for that week. This is the first time Wisconsin has seen five straight weeks with initial claims below 8,000 since 2005 and only the second time since 2000.

In addition, as of the end of July, the year-to-date average number of Wisconsin weekly initial Unemployment Insurance claims is at a 13-year low, at 10,778.
Sounds good, right? And on the surface it is, as claims have generally fallen each year in Wisconsin over the last 4 years.

But you'll also notice that unemployment claims are around their lows for the year in August regardless of how bad the economy is. And once summer jobs start ending in the coming weeks, those numbers will go back up.

And the drop in unemployment claims in 2013 is hardly unusual in America. The U.S. continues to have new claims at their lowest levels since the Great Recession started, with last week's unadjusted claims figure of just over 279,000 the lowest since September 2007. So despite the way DWD portrays it, it's not a big deal that Wisconsin also is having its lowest level of unemployment claims since September '07, since the country as a whole has its fewest layoffs in 6 years.

This chart will also show this trend, as Wisconsin's year-over-year drop in unemployment claims is not much different than the nation's. A number below 0% means Wisconsin is doing better than the nation, while a number above 0% means we're falling behind. While we're not above 0, like we were earlier in the year, we're not much below 0% either. This is in stark contrast to the last year of the Jim Doyle/Dem regime, when Wisconsin's drop in claims was 10-20% more than the U.S.'s.

So once again, the Walker Administration is trying to take credit for a growing U.S. economy that continues to grow (at least for now), and tries to ignore the above-trend record of the Doyle/Dem regime, which put Wisconsin on a strong footing before the Age of Fitzwalkerstan began.


  1. In the last 12 months, CES says that Wisconsin is up 28,100 private sector jobs. Given the preliminary QCEW annual figures for March this year of 24,124 and the meh Q2 tax receipts even vs 2012 it's probably not far wrong.

    CES also says that of those 28,100, fully 16,000 are in the leisure & hospitality sector above and beyond normal seasonal expectations. It's hard to imagine that many of these are all-year jobs rather than just due to a bigger summer peak than normal.

    If they really are principally just summer jobs, that bodes ill for the Q3 QCEW report, even compared to the unusually poor 2012Q3. Replacing the really poor 2012Q3 with an average 2013Q3 is key to making the last annual QCEW figures before next year's election (those for March 2014) look respectable (from a certain $2,000 a plate dinner-sponsored angle, that is).

  2. Another tipoff about the seasonal nature of the jobs is the fact that the last state-by-state jobs report shows that Wisconsin has gained 25,800 jobs in 1 year on a "seasonally adjusted" basis, but 41,500 overall. So it tells a large amount of those jobs are in seasonal industries (which is why the number is deflated).

    The confirmation for that would be if we see big increases in unemployment claims over the next 2 months. Stay tuned.

    1. I don't think the divergence between the annual changes in seasonally unadjusted vs seasonally adjusted numbers is that significant: the 2012 CES numbers have all been benchmarked, but the 2013 ones haven't yet and are subject to a (slightly) different set of seasonal adjustment specs. So that July 2013 figures are adjusted downwards by a different amount than July 2012's is to be expected.

  3. The Obama recovery? WTF?
    You mean the Republican Recovery, which started after they took control of Congress in 2010 and ended the failed runaway deficit spending of the Democrats by enacting the Budget Control Act of 2011 and creating the Oil Shale Boom.

    Obama & the Dems get credit for 3 years of 10% unemployment and sinking Social Security into the red 5 years ahead of schedule by not collecting 1/2 of the Payroll taxes for two years in the single worst economic policy of the 21st century.

    Obama = failure.