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.Sounds good, right? And on the surface it is, as claims have generally fallen each year in Wisconsin over the last 4 years.
“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.
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.