Wisconsin February Employment Wrapup: Growth at Standstill, Private NFP Still 18,800 below Gov. Walker’s 250,000 New Jobs Promise

Wisconsin nonfarm payroll employment for January revised down, flatlines for February.

Figure 1: Wisconsin nonfarm payroll employment, February release (dark bold red), January release (red), December (pink), 000’s, s.a, on log scale. Light green shaded period denotes data benchmarked to QCEW data. Source: BLS.

Private nonfarm payroll employment also flatlines (actual preliminary decrease).

Figure 2: Wisconsin nonfarm payroll employment, February release (dark red, left log scale), private nonfarm payroll employment (teal, right log scale), 000’s, s.a. Light green shaded period denotes data benchmarked to QCEW data. Source: BLS.

Private nonfarm payroll employment still 18,800 below the Governor’s promise of 250,000 new jobs by the end of his first term.

Figure 3: Wisconsin private nonfarm payroll employment (red), and Governor Walker’s promise of 250,000 new private jobs by end of first term (gray line), 000’s, s.a. Light green shaded period denotes data benchmarked to QCEW data. Source: BLS, author’s calculations.

12 thoughts on “Wisconsin February Employment Wrapup: Growth at Standstill, Private NFP Still 18,800 below Gov. Walker’s 250,000 New Jobs Promise

  1. pgl

    Idea! Have Wisconsin construction workers head down to the border with Mexico and build that stupid wall. If they bring their beer – they can compare to Mexican beer.

    1. 2slugbaits

      Better yet. Trump will tell us that the Mexicans will pay for the chips and salsa AND the cheese dip!

    2. Moses Herzog

      I guess you were saying that at least partly in jest, but…….

      I think if Wisconsin construction workers shared some beer with Mexicans together, of whatever regional brew, they’d be much less apt to build that damned wall. Or at the minimum, let them have 3 beers together and then hand them out some copies of NYT articles (or pamphlets or whatever) informing them of INTELLIGENT ways to stop illegal immigration and drug flow. That’s what the naive part of my brain is saying anyway.

  2. Moses Herzog

    No surprises in this post. Just an ever-exhausting bewilderment on how people keep voting for the Scott Walkers, Sam Brownbacks, and Mary Fallins of the world. Maybe if leadership in the black community wasn’t so vacuous, people such as Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton could do more than just show up for a couple days at the most recent shooting capturing TV attention, and then abandoning the place when all the self-publicity those 2 can get has been sucked out of the event. Maybe those 2 “leaders” might show up in Florida and discuss (for more than 2 days and then off to the next shooting) how voting rights for the elderly and blacks are being trampled on by Florida politicians. The black community used to have at least one leader like that. Where are the contemporary examples?? I guess you can’t sell books or get shows on MSNBC by doing the long-haul work in states like Florida where the elderly vote and black vote is being quietly nullified.


  3. Neil

    To what extent could the weakness in February be a payback for the outsized growth in December and January. The three month average for nonfarm growth in Wisconsin looks solid. Also, do you have any thoughts on the average hourly earnings data? Looks like Wisconsin is seeing strong growth over the last year.

    1. Moses Herzog

      @ Neil
      If you weren’t a complete idiot, then you’d probably know the December/January numbers had a large connection to Christmas spending. But don’t you put no mind to that, put on your red MAGA dunce cap and keep waiting for the rebirth of the coal industry. All the dumb MAGA folks know it’s going to happen around the same time “Mexicans will pay for the wall, ‘believe me’ ”

  4. Ed Hanson

    Fun with numbers when tax reduction, tax reform and reduction of public union power are promised and fulfilled.

    There are several ways off measuring the success of Wisconsin grow. Perhaps the best is reduction of unemployment rate (FRED).
    Jan 2011 — 8.00% –Feb 2018 — 2.9% –reduction 5.9% S.A. Absolutely terrific.

    Another measure job growth it has been positive every quarter since
    Jan 2001 and from 1st quarter 2017 each quarter (FRED) has been increasing in rate 2.0% 2.2% 2.3% 2.6% S. A. and more completely the increase has been growing for seven consecutive quarters. Excellent

    Employment growth in numbers from Quarter of Walker election
    Quarter 4 2017 — 3,067,900 — Quarter 4 2010 — 2,815,700 — Increase — 252,700 4-Quarter Moving Average, Not Seasonally Adjusted (FRED). Above 250,000 goal.

    Manufacturing employment growth (FRED S.A.)
    Jan. 2018 — 474,600 — Jan. 2011 — 437.300 — increase 37,300 — 3.9% of all national manufacturing job numbers (Preliminary Jan 2018) (Current Employment Statistics survey (National) BLS}

    These are terrific numbers for an aging state in both manufacturing processing and population.


    1. Bruce Hall

      Ed, I’ve often wondered why the arbitrary comparison of midwest Wisconsin with Pacific coast California. How about Wisconsin versus Illinois? Or maybe Wisconsin versus the rest of the combined stats of surrounding states (Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan)? I know Iowa is a bit of a stretch because it’s employment profile is not exactly rust belt.

      1. Ed Hanson


        Minnesota has done alright but as of late it is slowing down as the higher tax rates and government spending has finally worked through it economy causing a slowing of growth and a slow down in employment growth. Illinois is a basket case, but that is normal. Indiana, if my memory serves, has been the best performing over the long term. Iowa is Iowa, a generally well run state, perhaps the best at dealing with agricultural economics. Michigan is all over the board. It is trying to rebuild with all sorts of means. Even here in Colorado we are getting advertising promoting the new Michigan. We here have had two or three migrations into the state from Michigan over the last 40 years. Maybe they want them back. Menzie would have a different story.

        And you are right, West Coast comparisons to the Midwest are tenuous at best. Different regions of the US have continued to be different. The most change between regions has been migration of worse weather states to better weather state. California ,was the greatest beneficiary of this migration, has finally taxed, regulated, sanctuaried, public employee unionized, gerrymandered, and attempted to redistributize to reverse its population growth. Only truly dedicated big government statist lefties could do this to such a beautiful and rich state.


  5. Moses Herzog

    WARNING: Semi-offtopic
    I don’t know if Professor Chinn has read much of Eduardo Porter, but he is one of my favorite “columnists” to read. He is actually a journalist, and keeps his articles facts based but he isn’t afraid to “take sides” on issues, which gives a “columnist” type flavor to Porter’s writings. HIs writings are usually in Wednesday’s hardcopy edition of the NYT, and he’s basically the only reason I bother going to pick up on the NYT on Wednesday’s (unless there are important headlines I would skip reading Weds to save car fuel). I encourage people (including Menzie) to read him or take the time to search him out online. He is one of the best economics writers around who doesn’t actually have economics credentials. And I am very sparing of paying that type of compliment to people who write about Economics not holding a Master’s or higher.

  6. Moses Herzog

    Why are labor unions necessary?? Ask teachers in West Virginia on strike. Ask teachers in Oklahoma, who will be striking around April 1. This article from the New York Times by Noam Scheiber spells out many of the problems when Republican lawmakers slough off the importance of public education to society.

    “The anger shows little sign of dissipating. In Oklahoma, teachers complain of being near the bottom in the country in pay. But some say it is the near-collapse of their profession in the state that has truly demoralized them.
    Ed Allen, president of the local teachers’ union in Oklahoma City, said there were about 2,000 emergency certified teachers in the state, exempted from traditional certification requirements to fill staff shortages. In some schools, such teachers account for nearly half the faculty.
    “God bless people who are trying to get in and help learn a new profession, but these folks come in at square one,” Mr. Allen said. “They don’t know lesson plans, rules and procedures. They don’t know grading.”
    As teachers see it, he added, “this is just a symptom of a lack of respect for our profession.”

    Well some may read that Ed Allen is the head of the Oklahoma teachers’ union, and ask “What difference does it make whether teachers are certified by the traditional route?? Why not just speed up the process and give them ’emergency teaching certificates’?? After all, ANYONE can teach.”

    Well, you can ask some of the administrators at Yukon High School in Oklahoma why. They had this female “teacher” on the local channel “News9” (KWTV) and had praised and ballyhooed her as a great example of how emergency teaching certificates would be a cure-all for Oklahoma’s perennial and perpetual problem with Republican state lawmakers refusing to pay public teachers a living wage. Less than 2 months later, after profiling Hunter in a video story —this story hit all of the local news channels–including News9 (KWTV) which had in essence told its viewers in Oklahoma that this woman was the cure for all of Oklahoma schools’ ills.

    Hunter Day, a 22-year-old teacher at Yukon High School in Yukon, Oklahoma, was arrested Wednesday after authorities said they used the boy’s phone to confirm a meeting and found Day sitting on her living room floor with the lights off and candles lit.
    Day, who officers say admitted to having a sexual relationship with the boy, is charged with rape in the second degree, possession of child pornography and soliciting sex from a minor using technology, Canadian County Sheriff’s Office officials said in a statement posted on Facebook. Day is being held on $85,000 bail.

    Oklahoma Republican lawmakers and Oklahoma Republican voters ask “Why certify teachers??” “Why pay teachers the market wage (much less a living wage)??” “Why provide teachers with resources for teaching??” Why indeed?? Just all the better teachers migrate to Texas where they make THOUSANDS more per year and watch the better quality teachers taper off to all the states bordering Oklahoma and wonder why your state lays in its own refuse, with median wages WAY below the national averages. Oklahoma should just keep on doing what they have done for the last 30 plus years (treating public school teachers like crap), and then see if things magically change tomorrow.

    1. Moses Herzog

      Apologies to Menzie’s readers, the last section of bold print in my above comment should also be in quotations, as it is lifted verbatim from Marwa Eltagouri’s story originally from Washington Post and put in the SacBee off the wires.

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