Friday, July 18, 2014

National numbers make Wisconsin's June loss even worse

As mentioned, I wanted to take a look at the state-by-state monthly jobs report to follow up on yesterday's news of more Wisconsin private sector job losses.

And the nationwide numbers make Wisconsin's report look even worse. When combined with May's job losses (which were revised up to 900 in yesterday's report), it makes Wisconsin the only state in the Midwest to lose private-sector jobs in both months. In fact, Wisconsin was at least 15,000 JOBS BEHIND 4 of our 6 Midwestern neighbors, as we thawed out from the polar vortex winter.

Private sector job change, April-June 2014
Mich +34,300
Ind. +17,200
Minn +13,500
Ohio +12,900
Iowa +3,000
Ill. +2,800
Wis. -2,100

But these horrible stats didn't mean the Walker Administration has given up trying to convince people that somehow "It's Working" in Wisconsin. Which means it's time to destroy yet another lame pro-Walker cheerleading attempt by DWD Secretary Reggie Newson. I'll start off with the DWD spin, and respond with the context and reality in italics.
Highlights of today's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report of state-by-state employment and unemployment estimates include:

Wisconsin's unemployment rate had a statistically significant decrease between June 2013 and June 2014. (2014 5.7% v. 2013 6.8%). Wisconsin's unemployment rate has not risen for 19 months.
So freaking what? The US rate has only gone up one time in the last 18 months, and has dropped from 7.5% to 6.1% in the last year - a bigger drop than Wisconsin’s (1.4% vs. 1.1%). In the Midwest, 4 of the 6 other states had statistically significant drops in unemployment, and their drops were between 1.4% and 2.1%. In addition, the 2 states that didn’t make the “statistically significant list” (Iowa and Minnesota) already had unemployment down to 4.8% and 5.1% in June 2013, and currently are even lower than that today.

This claim actually makes Wisconsin look worse, not better.

Wisconsin has a statistically significant private-sector job (Current Employment Statistics) increase between June 2013 and June 2014 at 33,800, which ranked 23rd nationally.
This is damning with praise again. Wisconsin is 20th among all the states in population, so being 23rd in total job increase means if anything, we’re underachieving.

Wisconsin had a statistically significant total nonfarm job (CES) increase between June 2013 and June 2014 at 45,400, which ranked 16th nationally.
This sounds good on the surface, but leaves out the 2 ½ years of bottom-third suckitude before this, and leaves out the fact that over ¼ of these jobs are in GOVERNMENT. (So much for “small government conservative Scott Walker.”)

Wisconsin had a statistically significant manufacturing job (CES) increase between June 2013 and June 2014 at 8,300, which ranked 5th nationally and above Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota.
Again, so what? We’re just behind Indiana for Number 1 in the U.S. when it comes to the highest percentage of jobs in manufacturing. It would be like if Wisconsin bars took credit for selling the most brandy per capita in the nation. Of course we’d do well in this stat when manufacturing employment is growing in America.

No matter how they try to dress it up, the Walker Administration can't hide from the fact that Wisconsin is still worst in the Midwest for job creation. This statement is true both in the first 3 years of the Age of Fitzwalkerstan (as shown by the "gold standard" Quarterly Census on Employment and Wages report), and in the 2 months since the grass started to grow. I understand that a Common Core opponent like Walker might find math to be a liberal plot, but it doesn't change the fact that this state has badly lagged since his radical policies were put in place, and there is little evidence this will change until new leadership is installed.

P.S. For more information, please check out UW-Madison professor Menzie Chinn's recent post on Econbrowser, where he contrasts the failure of ALEC states like Kansas and Wisconsin with growing, Dem-led states like California and Minnesota. Worth noting- those Dem-led states have more jobs now than they did before the Great Recession hit, while Kansas and Wisconsin still have yet to get back to that level.

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