Sunday, November 21, 2021

Updated data shows Wisconsin at max employment, unless we get more people

I wanted to follow up on the surprising revisions to the unemployment figures in several Midwestern states, which resulted in Wisconsin's unemployment rate dropping from an original report of 3.9% in September to 3.4% in September's revised numbers, and 3.2% in October.

As mentioned earlier, the Bureau of Labor Statistics discovered that some demographic data in some Great Lakes states was off due to COVID-related distortions, and it led them to make big adjustments in September's figures.
Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, BLS has been examining the inputs to the employment and unemployment models for outliers and implementing level shifts in real time, where appropriate, based on statistical evaluation of movements in the inputs. These level shifts help to preserve movements in the published estimates that the models otherwise would have discounted. The implementation of a level shift due to an outlier identified in the Current Population Survey input to the Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI Metropolitan Statistical Area unemployment model for January 2021 produced some distortions in the pro-rata benchmarking factors across the modeled areas within the East North Central census division that have increased over subsequent months. The modeled areas within the East North Central census division include the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin, as well as the Chicago-Naperville-Arlington Heights, IL Metropolitan Division and the balance of Illinois, the Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI Metropolitan Statistical Area and the balance of Michigan, and the Cleveland-Elyria, OH Metropolitan Statistical Area and the balance of Ohio.
So let's dig into how those 5 states were changed as a result. 4 of the 5 had reductions in their unemployment rates, but Michigan had a significant jump of 1.7%.

And the reasons for the changes varied. Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin had small changes in the labor force but sizable increases in the number of people working, while Michigan had many more people in their work force, but many less people working.

We got another level of information about the labor market in the states on Friday, with the state-level Job Openings and Labor Turnover (JOLTS) survey. And it also indicates that Wisconsin is near a level of maximum employment, with the amount of people being hired no different than in Summer 2020, but the number of people quitting and the need to fill positions is significantly higher.

So with the state maxed out, it seems like it's time for workers to take advantage by grabbing better wages, and to have our state find ways to improve its amenities and quality of life so that we can get more people to want to come here, and fill those many positions. And those people aren't going to want to come to a cold-weather place that has backwards social policies and a Legislature that would rather rig elections than get things done.

You'd think our state's "business leaders" would understand that. But they're too busy trying to grab market share and profits to actually want to make things better in Wisconsin, so they keep funding regressive dopes that would rather keep our state stagnated. So it's up to Governor Evers to use the boost of Federal support that's coming in to go around the WMCs and other oligarchs, and take real steps to close the wage and labor gap that this state is under in late 2021.

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