As Governor Walker begins a tour of the state to tout a new jobs plan , it might be useful to review economic conditions in Wisconsin. Briefly put, Wisconsin employment (total, private) continues to decline, and Wisconsin’s coincident indicator continues to diverge from the US indicator (as well as most other of the region’s indicators). Hence, points made in previous posts   still seem applicable.
First, Wisconsin nonfarm payroll employment continues to decline.
Figure 1: Wisconsin nonfarm payroll employment from BLS (blue) and projections from October Wisconsin Economic Outlook, in 000’s. NBER defined recession dates shaded gray. Vertical line at 2011M01. Sources: BLS, Wisconsin Economic Outlook and NBER.
Second, Wisconsin private nonfarm employment continues to decline.
Figure 2: Wisconsin private nonfarm payroll employment from BLS (blue) and projections from Wisconsin Economic Outlook, in 000’s. NBER defined recession dates shaded gray. Vertical line at 2011M01. Sources: BLS, October Wisconsin Economic Outlook and NBER.
Given these trends, it is no wonder that most observers believe Governor Walker’s goal of adding 250K jobs by 2015 will not be achieved. . After all, private employment is essentially back to where it was when Governor Walker took office, while nonfarm payroll employment is below.
Third, Wisconsin economic activity continues to decline, in contrast to the national indicators and the indicators for the other states in the region.
Figure 3: Log coincident index for Wisconsin (WI, bold blue), Illinois (IL, gold), Indiana (IN, chartreuse), Iowa (IA, purple), Michigan (MI, dark red), Minnesota (MN, green), and US (bold black), all rescaled to 2011M01=0. Vertical line at 2011M01. Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia and author’s calculations.
As mentioned earlier, the Governor is pushing a new jobs plan. From Sheboygan press:
MADISON (AP) — Gov. Scott Walker announced Monday he is creating a new council to help better prepare students for college and careers.
The move comes after Walker and the Legislature last year cut $71 million over two years from funding for Wisconsin’s technical colleges, whose primary mission is to train students for available jobs.
The substantive component of the plan seems to involve more job fairs.
Walker said the Department of Workforce Development will double the number of job fairs it holds across the state to 100 this year in hopes of getting the unemployed into current vacancies.
[Update, 11AM PST, 1/11] Reader aaron states (9:23AM, 1/11):
Wisconsin was in really bad shape before the recession.
Below I plot the Philadelphia Fed’s coincident index as a summary of economic activity.
Figure 4: Coincident index for Wisconsin. NBER defined recession dates shaded gray. Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia and NBER.
This graph (and my recollection) seems to be at odds with that characterization.