Sunday, December 18, 2016

Yes, the Walker jobs gap really is well over 100,000

I saw a recent post from Political Heat's Chris Walker which discussed the most recent Quarterly Census on Employment and Wages. That QCEW report came out about 10 days ago, and Chris noted the low figures for Wisconsin under Scott Walker and the Wisconsin GOP in comparison to the rest of the country.
Since 2011, Wisconsin has grown private sector jobs at a rate of 6.99 percent. That’s an average rate of growth of about 1.4 percent per year.

That sounds pretty decent, but don’t celebrate quite yet: the U.S. rate of private sector jobs growth during that same timeframe was about 9.39 percent, or about 1.88 percent per year. In other words, the rest of the nation has, on average, created jobs at a rate that’s 34 percent faster than Wisconsin.

If we had created jobs at the national average rate, Wisconsin would have created more than 55,000 additional jobs over the past five years. But we didn’t create jobs at the national rate -- and have instead seen 20 consecutive quarters of below-average jobs growth in the state since Walker’s first budget took effect.
That's not good, but it also is very different from what I've had for a "Walker jobs gap", which uses a slightly different metric (monthly jobs reports vs. QCEW), but shouldn't be that far off. My estimate of the Walker jobs gap in the private sector was around 74,000 from June 2011 to June 2016, and is 111,000 if you back to the start of Walker/WisGOP's Reign of Error and take it forward to today.

In addition, because I'm a geek who looks at these numbers far too much for normal sanity, Chris Walker's estimates of 9.39% US private sector job growth for the last 5 years seemed low to me, given that I know the US has averaged well above 2% job growth a year in the private sector in recent years. But because I'm not a shriveldicked Republican, I also wasn't going to assume what I had figured was automatically correct.

And so I dug into the press release Chris included in his post, and I figured out the disparity. When you look at that June 2011 report and then compare it to the most recent QCEW that ended in June 2016, you'll see the following figure.

Total jobs US, June 2011-June 2016
June 2011 130,469,900
June 2016 142.717,200
CHANGE +12,247,300 (+9.39%)

The problem is that it's not an apples-to-apples comparison. The 6.99% increase in Wisconsin that Chris Walker references is PRIVATE SECTOR jobs, not total jobs, so we need to make dual comparisons to figure out what the true Walker jobs gap is from June 2011 to June 2016- one for total jobs, and one for private sector jobs. This means a starting point of

June 2011-June 2016 QCEW stats
June 2011-June 2016 US total jobs +9.39%
June 2011-June 2016 Wis total jobs +5.79%

June 2011-June 2016 US private jobs +12.34%
June 2011-June 2016 Wis private jobs +6.99%

June 2011-June 2016 Wis total job change +156,958
June 2011-June 2016 Wis total job change at 9.39% +254,591
June 2011-June 2016 Walker total jobs gap +97,633

June 2011-June 2016 Wis private job change +152,406
June 2011-June 2016 Wis private job change at 12.34% +260,860
June 2011-June 2016 Walker private jobs gap +108,454

So yes, Walker/WisGOP policies have cost us a lot more than 55,000 jobs between June 2011 and June 2016- they've actually cost us nearly twice as much as that. In fact, we'd be over Scott Walker's promise of 250,000 jobs if we had merely kept up with the rest of the country. And since those QCEW figures don't account for the January-June 2011 or June-November 2016 time periods, 111,000 is a plausible figure for the overall private sector Walker jobs gap. In fact, it'll likely look worse as we go into the coming months and the monthly figures are benchmarked to the lower QCEW growth figures.

Yes, we have fallen FAR behind in Wisconsin since 2011. And yet dimwitted voters decided to return the same GOP legislators to power this November despite this record of failure. You have one last chance in 2018 to stop this madness, both at the Governor and Legislative level (with the potential of new, fairer districts allowing for more change in the Legislature). C'mon Wisconsin, don't you believe we should be doing better than this crap?


  1. Yes. We should. I think most Wisconsin voters would agree. The problem is our Democratic Party has not presented anything like a viable plan in opposition to the current power structure.

    In a contest between a poor plan and no plan, the party with the poor plan wins.

    Back when ole Scott was busy getting elected for the first time, I recall saying something to the effect that Democrats need to come up with a better campaign than "Vote for us. Republicans suck."

    I saw little in 2016 to suggest they're any closer than they were 5 years ago.

    1. This is largely true. This is why I put the Franz Ferdinand song up there, because it really should be a Dem theme "WE DESERVE BETTER THAN THIS."

      It's a double message- we deserve better schools, better services, and higher wages. And the GOPs have failed this state miserably, and should be FIRED.

      Throw in "we're not crooked/bought a-holes like the GOPs are", and why shouldn't that be more than enough. Especially by the time Nov 2018 rolls around?

  2. And you see, this is why Jake is the Economics King of #wiunion. I tip my beer to you, sir...

    1. Thanks for the kudos, but it was really because you tend to be spot-on for things like that, and I was wondering why our numbers were so far off.

      The thing is, both of us do these posts and calculations on the side, don't get paid for it, and can do it within 120 minutes. Where's our "professional" media to do the same while they're grabbing a paycheck?