Monday, November 28, 2022

Updated job numbers show Wisconsin still growing, but Milwaukee lagging, and more people needed

We got the latest report of the "gold standard" jobs report in America right before Thanksgiving, aka - the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW), and while it wasn't as strong as the nation's growth rate of 4.0% between June 2021 and June 2021, Wisconsin did gain nearly 46,000 jobs in that time period, for a gain of 1.6%.

But it's worth noting that Wisconsin also didn't lose as many jobs as the rest of the US did as the COVID pandemic broke out in Spring 2020, and when you take into account the COVID losses and the following recovery, we've fared better than most of our Midwestern bretheren.

The QCEW's job growth also is in line with the state's job reports that showed 1.5% job growth in the same time period, which makes me think that the decline in "Wisconsinites employed" in much of 2022 in the household survey isn't right, and will be revised with benchmarking in March 2023.

The initial QCEW release also gives information on the most-populated Wisconsin counties (the rest of the them will be released next week). And I noted that all 6 of those counties had lower job growth than the state's 1.6% overall growth.

When we look at the urban counties over 3-year COVID era, you'll see that Dane County bounced back faster than the rest of the state before leveling off, but Milwaukee County has badly lagged behind, and vs the middle of 2019, still was down more than 6% at the end of June.

I'm starting to wonder if that deficit helps to explain the miserable levels of turnout in Milwaukee for the midterm elections, and if there has been some kind of general exodus that we haven't fully seen show up in the population numbers. Maybe we should stop handcuffing the state's largest county and quit starving them of resources? Just a thought.

Given that the state's unemployment rate is still at a low 3.3%, it seems that our state's bigger concern should be in trying to attract more people to locate to Wisconsin, in order to increase our capacity for job growth. And we're not going to be that attractive as long as we have a gerrymandered GOP Legislature that is more concerned with playing political power games and pandering to dimwitted MAGAts on Faux News garbage that does nothing to solve any economic problems or constraints.

We got billions in our bank and can change the game in this state, and get us into a place where Wisconsin can break out of its current limitations. Do we have a Legislature that cares to even try to work with our Governor to do that?

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