Thursday, October 21, 2021

Are Wisconsin jobs already maxing out? And how do we raise the ceiling?

A new Wisconsin jobs report came out on Thursday with September’s figures. And the main news is that little changed at all.
Wisconsin's unemployment rate remained at 3.9% in September, the same level it has been at since April, according to new data from the state Department of Workforce Development.

Thursday's report provides the first look at Wisconsin's unemployment rate following the conclusion of enhanced federal unemployment benefits, which expired on Sept. 6. Some had targeted the enhanced benefits as exacerbating the state's workforce shortage challenges by creating a disincentive to work, with Republicans in the Legislature trying to strike the federal payments earlier this year, but others say Wisconsin's labor woes are more complicated and won't be going away anytime soon.

"I think we’re probably looking now at 2023 in terms of any sort of normalcy," Rimantas Buinevicius, executive search partner with Patina Solutions, said during a labor shortage discussion hosted last week by the Wisconsin Alumni Association. "I think it's going to be related to seeing pure confidence that Covid infection rates aren’t going to come back and the supply chain coming back to normal, because until the supply chain comes back to normal there’s just no way you’re going to get back to a normal situation….

DWD's report, which is based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics preliminary employment estimates, found that total non-farm jobs in Wisconsin remained the same as in August, while private-sector jobs in the state dropped by 100. The state's labor-participation rate increased slightly from 66.5% in August to 66.6% last month.
What's interesting is that while Wisconsin's unemployment rate has stayed at 3.9%, the number of people in the work force has continued to grow in 2021 while the number of people unemployed is pretty much the same as we had at the start of the year. It indicates that Wisconsinites have continued to enter the work force in 2021 (even with the $300/week add-on for unemployment), and have found jobs when they do.

But while we're up more than 45,000 jobs for the year, seasonally-adjusted payrolls have dropped from their peak in July.

Given the circumstances, it’s possible that we’re at a maxed-out scenario for the labor market. Although I will note that the only reason we didn’t have a significant increase in payrolls for September is because private education services “lost” 4,900 jobs, reflecting lower-than-normal seasonal hiring.

On the flip side, lower-than-normal September layoffs led to seasonally-adjusted increases in a couple of key sectors for September.

Change in jobs, September 2021 Wisconsin
Not seasonally adjusted -2,000
Seasonally adjusted +4,100

Leisure and Hospitality
Not seasonally adjusted -18,600
Seasonally adjusted +1,400

It would be ironic if a lack of seasonal layoffs might be a way to get our labor situation more towards normal in the coming months. But that’s not going to help us grow and fill gaps when we need more people next Spring, so Wisconsin’s “business lobby” gave their ideas on how to get more workers to want to come here.
Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC) – the combined state chamber and manufacturer’s association – and a coalition of business groups sent a letter to Gov. Evers urging him to launch a talent attraction campaign aimed at addressing Wisconsin’s workforce shortage. The letter calls on the governor to utilize $3 million in funds from the Wisconsin State Budget and additional money from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

WMC recommended the talent attraction campaign be modeled after the campaign launched in 2018 by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). The talent attraction campaign started in 2018 by WEDC helped share with the rest of the country that Wisconsin is a great place to grow, learn and thrive.

In part the letter reads:

“Employers in Wisconsin have severe worker shortages and an inability to fill key positions. According to Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce’s (WMC) most recent Wisconsin Employer Survey conducted in June of this year, the biggest challenge facing Wisconsin employers is the workforce shortage, with 86% of employers indicating that they are struggling to hire workers. Moreover, 72% of these employers responded that the workforce shortage is the top public policy issue facing Wisconsin.

“Employers throughout the state share a strong desire to have a coordinated campaign to attract new workers to Wisconsin. In WMC’s recent Wisconsin Employer Survey, 73% of employers think the state should fund a talent attraction campaign. These employers understand that individual talent recruitment programs can be difficult and have little impact, but partnerships with regional and statewide initiatives can bring the next generation of talent to their businesses.”
Hey WMC, you know what part of the state attracted the most talent, jobs, and population over the last decade? MADISON. You might have noticed what's going on within 3-4 blocks around your office building on Blair and E. Wash.

Maybe you could ask some people on the street why they keep wanting to come here, instead of wasting $3 million on a marketing campaign.

You know what isn’t going to attract talent? Regressive BS like all those abortion bills passed this week at the Capitol, or allowing the hunting of sandhill cranes and letting any meatball carry a gun. That’s what we’re getting from same WisGOPs you’ve given millions of dollars to over the years, and supported with ads discussing those stupid social issues instead of the anti-tax, anti-worker garbage you pay them to support.

I think we should try to make Wisconsin a high-quality place that’s open-minded and pays good wages. Do that, and I’d think more talent will want to come here. But hey, I'm not a big fish in a small pond running my Daddy's company “business leader”, so what do I know?

1 comment:

  1. The confusing part about the monthly job numbers was why MN gained 17,100 jobs and the WI numbers mainly stayed the same. Both states had the same unemployment percent of 3.9 for the month of July, and has now dropped to 3.7% as of last month's data, so is possible more WI residents are taking more MN jobs and they are just showing up under the MN numbers? If the unemployment rate in MN is really 3.7%, where would all these new workers be coming from? It is also odd that two states next to each other could have completely different numbers.