State-level employment figures released this morning by the BLS indicate indicate that as US (and regional peer Minnesota) employment powers along, Wisconsin lags. As does Kansas. Hence, the negative correlation between the ALEC-Laffer economic outlook index and actual economic activity persists  
Figure 1: Log private nonfarm payroll employment for Wisconsin (red), Minnesota (blue), California (teal), Kansas (green) and the US (black), all seasonally adjusted, 2011M01=0. Vertical dashed line at beginning of terms for indicated governors. Source: BLS, and author’s calculations.
Figure 2: Log nonfarm payroll employment for Wisconsin (red), Minnesota (blue), California (teal), Kansas (green) and the US (black), all seasonally adjusted, 2011M01=0. Vertical dashed line at beginning of terms for indicated governors. Source: BLS, and author’s calculations.
The flat growth for Wisconsin and Kansas are consistent with trends indicated by the Philadelphia Fed’s leading indicators, discussed in this post. Now, this is just one month’s observation, sure to be revised. However, the general pattern of stagnant employment growth remains there. There is little succor to be gained from appealing to alternative labor market measures, such as the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages. As several reports have noted, Wisconsin came in 37th in 2013 employment growth.  Further, as I observed in May, the BLS private employment series will likely be revised downward as a consequence of these QCEW figures.
Note that the gap between the path consistent with Governor Walker’s promise of 250,000 net new jobs and actual employment has increased (to 95,400 from 89,800). This means that 17,100 jobs per month have to be created for each of the next eight months in order to hit Governor Walker’s target, something that is highly unlikely given the mean job creation number (1,700 per month, since 1990M01).
Figure 3: Nonfarm private payroll employment for Wisconsin (blue), quadratic match interpolation of quarterly forecast (red), and linear trend for Walker’s target of 250,000 new jobs (black). Source: BLS and Wisconsin Economic Outlook (March 2014).
On a related note, Ed Hanson stated back in February that he would await the 2013 GSP release before making judgments about the relative performance of Minnesota and Wisconsin. Well, those numbers are in.
Figure 4: Log real Gross State Product for Minnesota (blue) and Wisconsin (red), 2010=0. Source: BEA, and author’s calculations.
Since 2010, Minnesota has grown a cumulative 2.8% (log terms) more than Wisconsin. Relative to 2011, the cumulative growth is 2.1%.
At that time, Ed Hanson argued that there was an incipient acceleration of Wisconsin per capita growth vis a vis Minnesota. In fact, year-on-year per capita growth for 2013 confirms that Minnesota continues to outpace Wisconsin (2.0% vs 1.4%, in log terms).