BLS: Wisconsin Private and Total Nonfarm Payroll Employment Decline in April

Official figures indicate employment declines in April, according to the BLS. Private payrolls are 4700 below January 2011 Levels


Figure 1: Actual Wisconsin private nonfarm payroll employment (blue), QCEW and DWD data based estimate of WI NFP (see post) minus government employment (red) and Walker path (green). Source: BLS (April release), author’s calculations.

Note that the numbers released by Governor Walker’s Administration (pertaining to data through 2011M12) have no bearing on the direction of change in employment recorded in April.

Wisconsin nonfarm payroll employment is 12,800 below 2011M01 levels. Even if one used QCEW based numbers for private employment (see this post), and assumed the private employment changes since 2011M12, then April’s level would be 41.1 thousand below the Walker target.

15 thoughts on “BLS: Wisconsin Private and Total Nonfarm Payroll Employment Decline in April

  1. I Love Scott Walker Thanks

    All you’re facts won’t mean squat with all the Wall Street money that’s going to save our great governer.

  2. jonathan

    Now they’ll blame the uncertainty caused by a recall election.
    Humans are very good at deflecting and in interpreting events, both past and present, to fit their needs.

  3. Bruce Hall

    Aside from the significant reduction of government employees, what specific actions would you attribute to Gov. Walker that has cause the stagnation?
    Usually, businesses react negatively to political uncertainty. But if you believe that is not the case, you should offer up a different explanation… something you did not do.
    You may not have noticed that Michigan is implementing similar government cost cutting without the huge backlash from the unions and you may have noticed also that Michigan’s economy is improving significantly. Lack of uncertainty: growth. Uncertainty: inaction.

  4. Anonymous

    And Wisconsin is still dead last in job growth, with 5 times the loss of the next closest state.
    What Bruce conveniently leaves out is that Obama’s bailout of GM is the bigger reason behind Michigan’s growth of the last 1+ year, and the fact that they’re expanding their Amtrak service while Walker turned down a stimulus-funded extension of service to Madison and Minneapolis. Tells a lot, don’t it?
    The only uncertainty businesses really care about is uncertainty over who will buy their products. And when you cut consumers’ wages and have home values drop as a result(as has happened in Wisconsin, where the state was dead last for income growth for Q4 2011), people are less likely to spend. Pretty easy to figure out, really.

  5. CB

    Just look at the mad Walker croneys come up with anything they can get their little fingers on which will make them feel like less of a failure for voting in such an unbelievably moronic Tea-Party celebrity who has bled our state of funding and jobs.
    When you’re an ignorant ideologue, instead of a respected professor and economist, it’s easy to shovel down whatever shit the Walker admin. slops in your trough.
    The Walker spin machine marches forward blindly.

  6. Tom

    What you label as “Actual” private employment is the published CES private employment estimate, but it is still a sample-based estimate of employment. And as we have seen by comparing it to the administrative QCEW data, the CES estimate is a very poor estimate of actual employment. When the CES estimates are benchmarked again next year, your blue “Actual” employment line is going to be substantially different than it is today. After benchmarking your “Actual” blue line is going to look very similar to what you call the QCEW –based “estimate”. I would say your graph has very misleading labeling.

  7. Menzie Chinn

    Tom: Do you not read? The last line of the post:

    “Even if one used QCEW based numbers for private employment (see this post), and assumed the private employment changes since 2011M12, then April’s level would be 41.1 thousand below the Walker target.

  8. Menzie Chinn

    Tom: I systematically label reported series as actual when there forecasts and counterfactuals. If you want to send your preferred series, I will post as “Tom’s alternate series”. I can also then post the Don Luskin alternate-universe GDP series. Or you could write your own blog, and put your name to it — I would welcome seeing that.

    By the way, when the BLS series was going up (which turned out to be wrong after benchmarking) I didn’t see you critiquing my use of the term “actual”.

  9. jonathan

    Michigan employment is specifically rebounding as Anonymous pointed out because the federal government saved not only the automakers but the cluster of suppliers who relate to them.
    Michigan implemented a number of tax changes that I don’t like, but they avoided taxing workers more. They essentially raised taxes on the poor and elderly and lowered taxes for businesses. But Michigan policies have long been aimed at encouraging employment over fixed investment, some because of unions but mostly because the nature of capital investment in the heavy manufacturing industries rooted in the state focused the state on employment. A state like Ohio puts its tax program toward attracting certain kinds of capital investment, notably distribution. It’s a difference in emphasis that reflects how each state sees its competitive niche and the market for incentives.
    But more importantly, if someone – aka Bruce Hall – says that “uncertainty” causes this kind of economic result, then prove that is true. This can’t be done. It’s a statement of faith not of evidence.
    One example of many: the small business survey has repeatedly shown the percentage of small business owners worried about uncertainty or regulation and taxes has barely changed since before the financial crisis. The percentage worried about sales more than tripled and is still over twice normal. But the level of reported uncertainty is used to say uncertainty is the economic cause. If that were true, it would have increased over historical levels.
    I have not seen any actual evidence that uncertainty is an issue. It doesn’t show in bond yields. It doesn’t show in inflation expectations. It doesn’t show in stock prices or in measures of P/E multiples, etc. It doesn’t show except as an assertion. And not only that it correlates somehow but that it’s the cause. Prove it.

  10. 2slugbaits

    There is at least as much political uncertainty in Michigan as there is in Wisconsin. Regardless of the 5 June recall results, businesses know that there will still be a government of Wisconsin. Businesses might have to deal with a different administration, but they know that there will be continuity of government. Not so in the state of Michigan. Gov. Rick Snyder has been disestablishing legally elected city governments if he doesn’t like their political views or business decisions. Snyder has been using a Michigan law that allows the governor to delegitimize a locally elected city council and mayor and replace them with a Snyder appointed city manager. There is no appeal and no recourse and local voters are not allowed to reverse it. So if you’re a businessman thinking about investing in Pontiac, MI or any city with a Democratic city council or mayor, you’d have to be crazy because Snyder has made it plain that there will be adverse consequences and all agreements will be null and void. Now that’s business climate uncertainty on steroids.
    I suppose Gov. Snyder’s actions are consistent with Bruce Hall’s love of local government autonomy.

  11. Katy Perry

    You may have noticed California; we hands out six figure salaries to unionized prison guards. They spend it on Cadillac Escalades with twenty twos from the greater Detriot area. Duh. Watching people stimulates. Besides, we all know China will take over the world. Keynes comes from Confucius: um high rise dreams and high speed rail. Just like LA. Eat your heart out Ohio… I can go from my high rise like anywhere by Amtrak in just a week. I’m sure when the new parts for the Drachma printing press arrive, Greece will show us the benefits squandering…austerity is so short run drag.

  12. jonathan

    To expand on Michigan “uncertainty”, one example is tremendous confusion over whether a desperately needed bridge to and from Detroit and Windsor, Canada will be built – and by whom. The current bridge owner, Matty Maroun, has been trying everything imaginable to build his own bridge, even starting pier construction without approvals AND despite the Canadian government saying absolutely, no way, not going to happen with him. The Canadians want the state to build the bridge and have offered to pay most of the cost. The cost issue has caused the GOP – mostly out state, meaning not Detroit, not industry-oriented – to kill the issue though the GOP governor wants the bridge built by the state.
    This is huge uncertainty because so much of Michigan’s industrial employment – and shipping, distribution, etc. – is tied to cross border traffic. The political stalemate is a real problem, not one imagined as an effect of policy statements.

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