Wednesday, May 29, 2024

In 2023, "gold standard report" says Wisconsin trailed US for jobs. But still beats Trump years

The Bureau of Labor Statistics just came out with their latest update of the "gold standard" report for job growth - the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW). It's also intriguing since this carries through to the end of calendar year 2023.

Wisconsin continued its recent trend of being middle-of-the-pack for the Midwest, but also below the trend of much of the 2010s, and trailing the US average. In this case, Wisconsin landed in 41st place for overall job growth, at 1.04%, but also exceeded most of our Midwestern neighbors in the process.

Job growth, QCEW 2023
Mich +1.25%
Minn +1.23%
Ohio +1.15%
Wis. +1.04%
Iowa +0.95%
Ind. +0.94%
Ill. +0.81%

But even with a notable dropoff in job growth compared to 2021 and 2022, 2023's job growth in Wisconsin still beat each of the last 3 years of the Trump presidency, as well as 2 of the last 3 years of the Walker regime.

One area where Wisconsin beat the national average in the QCEW was in the rate of growth for average weekly wages. That rose by 3.9% in Wisconsin in 2023 compared to 3.6% in the US as a whole. However, we still fell further behind the national average in total dollars, as we ended 2022 at $198 behind the US average, and ended up $202 behind the average in 2023. So kind of a mixed picture there, but it does mean we saw solid job and wage gains for 2023 in Wisconsin, which is pretty good when you consider the state started 2023 with an unemployment rate of 2.7%, which indicates there wasn't much available labor to start with.

While unemployment rose from 2.7% to 3.4% in the state for 2023, that's a reflection of an increased labor force of 55,000 in the state, which solved some of the capacity issues we may have had. And since then, unemployment has gone back down in 2024, currently sitting at 2.9%. Not a bad place to be at, and I am intrigued in seeing if the future QCEW reports match the monthly numbers in showing job growth bumping back up for this year.

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