Friday, March 13, 2015

The Walker jobs gap- reconfigured and even bigger

I finally got around to downloading the newly-benchmarked Wisconsin jobs numbers for the 2010s and compared it to the runup in US jobs that's happened over the same time. As I mentioned when the Wisconsin DWD released the benchmarked figures last week, private sector jobs were revised down by nearly 26,000, and total jobs down by more than 30,000, meaning previous figures had been overestimated.

And as I hinted at last week, these revisions confirm that the state badly lags the rest of the country in each of the four years Scott Walker has been in office. To do an apples-to-apples comparison, I'm going to show how many jobs Wisconsin would have gained over these four years if we had kept up to the US rate, and what we actually gained. I'm going to use private sector job growth because Gov Walker insisted on being judged on private sector job growth- so I'll humor Scotty with this analysis.

Private Sector Job growth, Wisconsin vs. US
1/11- 1/12 Wisconsin +34,100
1/11- 1/12 Wisconsin at US rate +57,764

1/12- 1/13 Wisconsin +27,600
1/12- 1/13 Wisconsin at US rate +46,084

1/13- 1/14 Wisconsin +34,900
1/13- 1/14 Wisconsin at US rate +51,667

1/14- 1/15 Wisconsin +40,800
1/14- 1/15 Wisconsin at US rate +66,236

Put it together, and the total Walker jobs gap is at 84,351 private sector jobs in his first four-year term. And even with the largest growth in the last 12 months, the gap grew by the largest amount in those 12 months. Remarkably, almost all of the 25,000-job gap in 2014 was opened up through September, which is the last month that had its figures benchmarked to the "gold standard" Quarterly Census on Employment and Wages.

This shows that if Wisconsin had merely kept up with US growth in Walker's first four years in office, we would have added nearly 222,000 jobs, meaning Walker's "floor"...errr... "big goal" of 250,000 /a> was attainable. That is, if we wouldn't have had a wage-cutting doofus like Scott Walker handing out tax cuts to the rich and starving local governments of resources and services.

The same story holds for overall jobs, where the Walker gap is at a little over 78,000, and the US rate would have had us adding 209,000 jobs over those four years instead of a little more than 131,000.

Somehow I'm guessing the Walker jobs gap won't be mentioned as Scotty heads around to New Hampshire this weekend, bragging about his "success" in Wisconsin. But we know it far too well back here in Wisconsin, and we get to see just how badly we stack up to the rest of the nation early next week, when the state-by-state rankings are released.

EDIT: Here's more on these figures from UW Professor Menzie Chinn at Econbrowser.

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