Wisconsin’s Department of Workforce Development yesterday released preliminary employment figures for December, and revised figures for November. Both nonfarm payroll employment and private nonfarm payroll employment continue to decline (Figures 1 and 2). Total nonfarm payroll employment is now below levels recorded in January 2011, when Governor Walker took office. The divergence between the national employment trend and Wisconsin’s over the past six months is highlighted in Figure 3.
Figure 1: Wisconsin nonfarm payroll employment from BLS (blue), from DWD (green bold), and projections from October Wisconsin Economic Outlook (red), in 000’s. NBER defined recession dates shaded gray. Vertical line at 2011M01. Sources: BLS, WI DWD, Wisconsin Economic Outlook and NBER.
Figure 2: Wisconsin private nonfarm payroll employment from BLS (blue), from DWD (green bold), and projections from Wisconsin Economic Outlook (red), in 000’s. NBER defined recession dates shaded gray. Vertical line at 2011M01. Sources: BLS, WI DWD, October Wisconsin Economic Outlook and NBER.
Obviously, both series are further diverging from the October forecast in the Wisconsin Economic Outlook. A comparison to national trends is edifying.
Figure 3: US log nonfarm payroll employment from BLS (red), and Wisconsin nonfarm payroll employment from BLS November release and from DWD December release (blue), both normalized to 2011M01=0. NBER defined recession dates shaded gray. Vertical line at 2011M01. Sources: BLS, WI DWD and NBER.
Focusing on the (higher variance) household survey, DWD Secretary Newson observed in the press release:
“Our unemployment rate continues to decline and more Wisconsinites are working,” Secretary Reggie Newson said. “Challenges remain, but the latest data show we finished 2011 with more Wisconsinites working, record postings of over 151,500 on JobCenterofWisconsin.com, and higher state sales and withholding tax collections over the year, all of which point to economic growth for our state.”
Civilian employment, based on the household survey, is indeed 19,100 above January 2011 levels; Secretary Newson did not mention that it is also 5,800 below the post-trough peak in May 2011.
Update, 3:40PM Pacific: From Governor Walker’s newly unveiled website (today):
250,000 new jobs in four years — It’s an ambitious goal, but one that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says is achievable.
In January, Gov. Walker unveiled the first phase of his “Wisconsin Working” plan. During a year-long focus on job creation and economic growth, the Administration’s Special Cabinet on Economic and Workforce Investment listened to job creators, job seekers and government officials. The Cabinet then recommended an initial phase of policy changes and agency collaboration to ensure job seekers connect with current job needs, while building the skills necessary for family-supporting jobs.
After documenting the measures implemented, the document ends:
In the three years prior to Governor Walker taking office, Wisconsin lost 150,000 jobs. During his first year in office, Wisconsin had a net gain of thousands of jobs.
Which is entirely correct, if one uses the establishment series for the first number and the household for the second…I leave it to the readers to determine whether this is an appropriate use of the figures.
Update, 4:45PM Pacific: Wisconsin’s Government Accountability Board webcam of the recall count, here.