Saturday, June 16, 2018

Now we know Wisconsin's Spring job losses are the worst in the US

Thursday's news of 5,300 private sector jobs (and 4,700 overall) being lost in Wisconsin in May and April's losses being revised up to 5,600 was bad enough. But then the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the jobs numbers for all 50 states, and Wisconsin ended up at the bottom of a number of stats.

States with total job loss, May 2018
La. -200
Okla -200
Miss. -300
Ver. -500
Wyo. -500
Nev. -700
Wis. -4,700

We also "stand out" for the worst performance since March

States with job loss, March-May 2018
Miss. -900
Mont. -800
N.J. -2,300
Wis. -9,600

And we also are badly underperforming our Midwestern neighbors, as most states in our part of the country had notable job gains in May.

Job change, Midwest, May 2018
Ohio +22,600
Mich +11,800
Minn +10,200
Ill. +8,600
Ind. +4,000
Iowa +3,300
Wis. -4,700

In addition, the BLS says 34 of 50 states nationwide and 6 out if 7 Midwestern states had statistically significant job gains over the last 12 months. The only Midwestern state left out? Wisconsin.

Job change, Midwest, May 2017 - May 2018
Ohio +1.38%
Mich +1.32%
Iowa +1.09%
Ind. +1.07%
Minn +1.03%
Ill. +0.995%
Wis. +0.69%

This horrid underperformance should get any political leader removed, let alone a crooked, incompetent fool like Gov Dropout. Can you explain to me how our bought-off media isnt putting these facts on the front page of their newspapers and broadcasts?

Also, if the Wisconsin Dems aren't doing major media events and RUNNING ADS AND BILLBOARDS highlighting this "dead last" status (so media and casual citizens aren't allowed to ignore it), they need tp be replaced with people who can hammer that reality into people's heads.


  1. If some still crave more bad news, it has arrived in the form of severe storms and road damage in northern WI counties and cities between Superior and Ashland and southward closing many roads such as WI 35, US 53 and US 2 among others and the continued storms over the next 24 hours aren't going to make conditions any easier.

    It will make driving for grandma's marathon runners heading home as well as those heading to the president's rally on Wednesday difficult.

    Damage was also reported in eastern MN, although financially, they are in a much better financial situation to deal with it. That is the difficulty when a state is constantly running low on finding. Wisconsin is in a poor situation to deal with every day work and emergency repairs, let alone improvements.

    1. Thanks for the update. Sounds like those guys up North will need more highway funds which are being sent down to Foxconn-sin. And dont bet on Koched-up Sean Duffy being of any help, either.

      This is what hapoens when you have a GOP-run state govt who only cares about short-term headlines and pleasing donors instead vs day-to-day governance and stability.

  2. I don’t understand this interpretation of the May numbers. I see gains from a year ago and essentially no change from April. And we have the lowest unemployment rate in the Midwest. Can you explain where you’re getting this data from? Thanks!

    1. Different surveys. "Unemployment rate" is based on calling people who live in Wisconsin, and extrapolates from unemployment claims (which the Walker Admin has made tougher to get, by the way).

      The "jobs" number come from the reports of a number of firm's based in a state. So for example, if someone lives in Wisconsin but works in Illinois, Wisconsin's unemployment rate goes down, but Illinois adds a "job."

      Here's Friday's report for all 50 states, where Wis comes in dead last for May. It also explains the surveys and data collection. Dig in!

    2. I'm actually seeing the same numbers in this report (jobs holding steady, low unemployment relative to other states). Can you point me to the exact page that you're referring to, showing where Wisconsin is coming in dead last? Thanks!

    3. Page 11, Table 3. It lists total payroll jobs over the last 4 months.

      Also note on Page 6, Table E where all the other Midwest states have statistically significant increases except for 1...Wisconsin.

      I'll give you the benefit of the doubt that you just aren't seeing it. But if you still are claiming that you aren't understanding where the numbers are coming from, then I know you're a troll.

  3. I'm not a troll. I'm not a Walker supporter either. In fact, I'd like to use this material in a few upcoming events. But I'm also a scientist, and the statistics have to be done right. That's why I'm asking you to point specifically to where your conclusions are coming from. Thanks!

  4. I've looked at the numbers again, and I think you're referring to the total number of non-farm employees in Wisconsin. That number shows an increase of 1% from last year, and a decrease of 0.3% from March to May. There must be *some* natural fluctuation (noise) in these numbers -- which is why my eye registered this as holding steady rather than representing a significant decline -- but I think you're saying that every single other state in the Union had an increase in total number of employees and therefore it IS significant. I'll just believe you on that point and a quick glance seems to agree. Meanwhile, though, Wisconsin's civilian labor force grew by 11,000 people and unemployment dropped by a tenth of a percent this spring, and by half a percent since last year. How do you reconcile those statistics?


  5. Phew, I *think* I understand this now. The number of jobs (where you're seeing the big loss) is a payroll count coming from a survey of employers, while the unemployment rate is coming from a survey of people. So when people switch from a regular payroll job to being self-employed, or take a job out of state, that would look like a loss of one job while the unemployment rate would be unchanged. Looking at the employment statistics for the last ten years (, the number of payroll jobs does seem to fluctuate on ~monthly timescales by the hundreds to thousands, but we are indeed on a 3 month straight run of payroll losses right now, even though the number of people with jobs is at an all time high. For some people this probably means that they lost a payroll job and took on a bunch of gigs to make up for it and are barely scraping by -- for others it might mean they finally decided to start their own thing, or some blend of the two scenarios. I'm definitely interested if you have some other interpretation of what has been happening this spring, and how the number of people employed managed to "increase" in spite of the payroll losses. Thanks.

    1. That's a positive interpretation on it. But the Walker Admin was also way off on Labor Force and "Employment" figures last year, and they were deflated down with annual benchmarking and Census figures on population.

      They sure aren't getting farm jobs (farms are going bankrupt here), so maybe they're all working for Uber or getting pay raises. But then we'd be seeing,income tax revenues go way up, and that isn't happening either.

      Lastly, Scott Walker used "new jobs" as his benchmark metric in 2010. He doesn't get to change those goalposts now, especially when we are trailing everyone else in the Midwest in that stat.