Civilian employment falls to 1.3% below prior peak.
DWD released employment statistics today (usually it’s two or three days before the BLS release, but this time it’s just a day early).
First, note that for both nonfarm payroll employment and private nonfarm payroll employment, June figures were revised downward.
Figure 1: Wisconsin nonfarm payroll employment from March release (blue), April release (red), May release (green), June release (black), and July (teal). Source: BLS, and DWD.
Figure 2: Wisconsin private nonfarm payroll employment from March release (blue), April release (red), May release (green), June release (black), and July (teal). Source: BLS, and DWD.
An apt characterization of the situation is that establishment survey based estimated employment is treading water. However, that’s not the entire story; the household survey (which is typically less accurate than the establishment) indicates continued downward movement in civilian employment. The two surveys taken together indicate some worrisome trends are in place.
Figure 3: Wisconsin nonfarm payroll employment (blue), and civilian employment (red), s.a., in 1000’s. NBER defined recession dates shaded gray. Dashed line at beginning of Walker Administration. Source: BLS, DWD, and NBER.
While the unemployment rate remained constant (keeping in mind unemployment rate is the ratio of two variables, including labor force, which decreased 7,500).
Figure 4: Wisconsin-US unemployment rate differential (blue), average over 1986-2010 period (red) and plus/minus 2 standard error bands (estimated using HAC SEs from regression of differential on constant). Source: BLS, DWD, and author’s calculations.
In addition, the Wisconsin unemployment rate is now rising relative to US, and is now borderline statistically significantly above the 1986-2010 average differential. In other words, while Wisconsin’s unemployment rate is lower than the US, it is on average lower than the US rate. And right now, the gap is smaller than it usually is.
Highlights of QCEW figures were released yesterday. I’ll try to update my estimates of implied nonfarm payroll employment when those numbers are finally posted. My previous estimates suggested a downward revision of over 10,000 for December 2014.
Update, 7:50pm: Lagging economic growth seems to have had some impact on the Governor’s job performance ratings.
Update, midnight Pacific
Using the methodology outlined in this post, I pseudo-benchmark Wisconsin private NFP:
Figure 5: Wisconsin private nonfarm payroll employment (blue), and predicted (red). Light blue shading denotes data used for regression. Source: DWD and author’s calculations.
This implies that the WI private NFP number for March 2015 will be around 2463, which compares to the currently reported value of 2471.