Newly released BLS data indicate an absence of strong employment growth.
Figure 1: Wisconsin private nonfarm payroll employment, seasonally adjusted (blue), Walker’s implied path for private employment (red). NBER defined recession dates shaded gray. Source: BLS and NBER.
To place this outcome in context, I compare the change in Wisconsin private employment against the US.
Figure 2: Log Wisconsin private nonfarm payroll employment, seasonally adjusted (blue), and US (red), both normalized to 2011M01=0. Source: BLS, NBER and author’s calculations.
There has been some debate over the reliability of the BLS series — see this post. As noted there, BLS data has been benchmarked through December 2012. In any case, the most recent data for April should be viewed as preliminary.
Update, 8pm Pacific: Reader c thomson asserts the slowdown in Wisconsin employment growth relative to US could be entirely coincidence. To check this out, I start out with the null that WI and US nonfarm payroll employment growth rates are equal. Define the variable DEV = log(WI employment/US employment), and DUMMY is a binary variable taking on a value of 1 for 2011M01 onward. Then run a regression, 1990M01-2013M042013M01:
ΔDEVt = α + β DUMMYt
where Δ is the first difference operator.
With ΔDEV annualized, the coefficient is -0.007, with the HAC standard error of 0.0027. The t-statistic is -2.644, so one rejects the null hypothesis is rejected at the 1% msl using a two tailed test.
When the data is extended to 2013M04, the estimated β is -0.0108, t-statistic of -2.275. (Thanks to reader AS for pointing out my truncated sample in results reported earlier.)