Employment Growth in the Last Year of Walker’s Wisconsin

The benchmark revisions halved the 2018 growth rate from 1.64% to 0.82%.

Figure 1: Wisconsin nonfarm payroll employment from December 2018 release (red), from January 2019 release (blue), in 000’s, s.a. Light green shading denotes benchmarked data. Source: BLS.



24 thoughts on “Employment Growth in the Last Year of Walker’s Wisconsin

  1. Moses Herzog

    This article is implying Zuckerberg is LYING again. Being that Facebook took millions in advertising dollars for a lot of the Russian propaganda that helped donald trump win the Presidency, that sure is hard to believe that Zuckerberg would LIE—AGAIN. Facebook took all those Russian propaganda payments, “unknowingly” of course. Everything bad and unsavory for society that Facebook does Zuckerberg is “unknowing” about, so put it as a reminder on your calendars, so every time Zuckerberg vomits on society he doesn’t have to remind you all Facebook sins are done “unknowingly” to Zuckerberg.

    I thought Zuckerberg had, like, “found Jesus”, and stuff???

    Well let’s see…… the article says first Zuckerberg was Jewish…… then he was atheist……. then near exactly the time he teased a run for U.S. President, Zuckerberg decided he belonged to the “Universal Vote for Me, I Belong To ALL Denominations” religion, where I assume Zuckerberg was high chieftain, supreme rank ombudsman, treasurer, and guardian of the alms cash box. Hmmmmm, yeah seems this Zuckerberg guy is 100% trustworthy. I feel comfortable with him filtering and screening whatever the F’k political ads make him squirm in his seat. I don’t know about you, but that just makes me feel real warm and fuzzy all over. Gives me the tingles on my skin even.

  2. Manfred

    “The benchmark revisions halved the 2018 growth rate from 1.64% to 0.82%.”
    By the way, so did the ones for Louisiana as well – run by a Democratic governor.
    Just sayin’.

    1. Menzie Chinn Post author

      Manfred: And California, that socialist h***hole in some people’s view, with both houses and the governorship held by Democrats, had growth revised down from 1.67% to 1.64%…Just sayin’

      1. Moses Herzog

        @ Menzie
        Did Manfred forget to mention the Louisiana Republicans hold a majority in the state’s House of Representatives of 61–39?? In a rightward leaning state I wonder what Manfred thinks that does for a Democrat Governor trying to pass legislation?? Republicans also hold a 25–14 lead in the state Senate.

        It’s pretty asinine (one might even say very asinine) to mention one of the reddest of the 50 states in the nation as an example of “Democrat failure”

        Ok, Yes, I suppose anyone can grab a couple of picturesque locations in any of the 50 states. But looking at this Texan doing some traveling in California, it’s hard to imagine how they can bear it:


    2. noneconomist

      See “Jindal, Bobby” for what pains Louisiana. His follies (cut taxes, then cut ‘em some more) and budget goofs—as well as the legislature’s complicity—are well documented. In addition, Louisiana ‘s dependence on the awl bidness has not helped. Nor has the general educational and skills level of the state as a whole.
      By the time Jindal left office, he was in Brownback territory and was actually less popular in the state than Obama. Message there somewhere.

  3. Samuel

    As former Gov. Walker goes off to the speaker circuit of church basements and B-list TV appearances (pretty crowded with Paul Ryan, etc.), did he ever met his 250,000 new private-sector jobs goal?

    “In his first seven years in office, Gov. Scott Walker presided over an increase of 213,000 private-sector jobs in Wisconsin, short of the 250,000 new jobs the Republican promised in his first four years.” from June 2018: https://www.jsonline.com/story/money/business/2018/06/07/election-year-walker-once-again-misses-goal-250-000-new-jobs/682038002/

    Thank you for tracking this Dr. Chinn.

    1. Moses Herzog

      The first part of your comment makes me think of Newt and Callista on the white trash evangelical trinket selling circuit and late night infomercial world. I was gonna put some links up from “Funny or Die” where a comedian does a great rendition of Callista Gingrich, but there are some semi-vulgar parts. Menzie is so patient and tolerant with so much of my gunk, I think I will spare him the headache today.

    1. noneconomist

      You could also have mentioned that the stae’s economy is extremely diverse, and you could have included agriculture, manufacturing, tourism, oil (“My Kenin’s” Kern County is very oil dependent) and more.
      The potential fly n the ointment remains Trump’s tariff nitwittery and it’s effects on state markets. There are more people employed in the private sector n California than there are people in Ohio and Kentucky combined.
      The current snowpack bodes well for ag and ranching in both the Sacramento and Central valleys (with some exceptions on the west side farther south).
      Labor, of course, is a continuing concern since any guest worker program is beyond reason and logic. You know, drugs in the cabbage patches and the lemon groves, and on the dairy farms.
      When the recession does occur, California won’t be the only state hurting.

      1. Bruce Hall

        non, I’m sorry about Kern county’s dependence on evil oil. I’m sure that will be rectified soon.

        And, yes, California is a populous state so comparing absolutes between California and Kentucky or Ohio is sort of like comparing absolutes between Ohio and Rhode Island… meaningless. One can only compare on a per capita basis. Or perhaps we should just combine Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York for comparisons.

        The issue is what you do with what you were given. The geography of California is its greatest advantage. It’s a natural draw.

        My son’s family lives there (San Fran) and they love it, but they are also fortunate that they have combined incomes in the mid-six-figures and can afford their 2,000 s.f. home after taxes and cost of living. Not so much for the dozen immigrants crammed into a one-bedroom apartment. I remember how they were upset with us for running the water while brushing our teeth during our last visit. Not a big problem in Michigan or Wisconsin… or Ohio. My point: numbers can be and often are misleading about the quality of life. https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/rankings/quality-of-life

        I know, that’s just one opinion and one source, but that simply reinforces the point that numbers can be misleading. California certainly generates a lot of wealth and has more than its share of problems. Glad you like it there. I find it a nice place to visit, but I’m quite content with my home on a private, spring-fed lake in Michigan with a reasonable cost of living and plenty of year-round activities which I couldn’t begin to afford or even find in California. By the way, gasoline is about $2.30/gallon nearby; how much in California?

        While absolute wealth in a state is one measure of economic success, perhaps home ownership is a broader measure for the residents. While California has pockets of extreme wealth, it ranks 2nd-last in home ownership rates according to the Census Bureau: https://www.census.gov/housing/hvs/data/rates/tab3_state05_2018_hmr.xlsx I’m sure California’s governor and AOC should have something to say about such inequality. But, see, numbers can be and often are misleading about the quality of life.

        California’s geography has given that state an advantage in two unique ways: a distribution hub for imports from Asia (big growth factor, but recently impacted by tariff tiff) and a destination for Asians (more than 50% of immigrants to California were from Asia since 2012. https://www.ppic.org/publication/immigrants-in-california/. Obviously, Ohio doesn’t have that unique advantage.

        But I’ll ask you what I asked pgl, is California doing well economically because of government policies or in spite of them. Is it high debt and high taxes and low educational spending per pupil ($3,500 less than West Virginia) https://www.edweek.org/ew/collections/quality-counts-2018-state-finance/map-per-pupil-spending-state-by-state.html that makes California an attractive place or is it an attractive place in spite of that?

        1. Menzie Chinn Post author

          Bruce Hall: I think California is growing because of what the government does, including investing in higher education and spurring R&D, an open and inclusive view of what minorities can contribute, and open attitude toward alternative lifestyle and ideologies. Until recently, in Wisconsin, we had the antithesis — a governor who wanted to slash higher education spending, an appeal to anti-science views, and belief in anti-worker policies aimed at lining the pockets of the top 1% in Wisconsin.

          Glad you’re happy in MI. By the way, watching surfers and hearing the sea lions as the sun sets over the Pacific Ocean is free in Santa Cruz (and there’s no snow to shovel!).

          1. Bruce Hall


            California’s investments in public higher education have contributed to the state’s economic development for many decades. But state funding has declined over time—California invests less per student (adjusted for inflation) at its public universities than it did 30 years ago. When state contributions dropped dramatically during the Great Recession, the University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) increased tuition to make up for the lost revenue. This has raised questions about the cost of providing a college education. According to a 2016 PPIC Statewide Survey, a solid majority of Californians believe that higher education affordability is a big problem for the state.

            That, combined with the relatively low “investment” in K-12 education [https://www.edweek.org/ew/collections/quality-counts-2018-state-finance/map-per-pupil-spending-state-by-state.html] doesn’t fit your narrative. Also, spending billions on a high speed train to nowhere isn’t good government. California’s highways and roads are scary bad in places despite high gasoline taxes and no freeze-thaw cycles with which to contend. http://www.tripnet.org/California_State_News.php

            There’s a lot of complaining that California doesn’t get its “fair share” of federal tax dollars, but if that’s a problem, then Wisconsin is certainly getting short changed. https://lao.ca.gov/Publications/Report/3531/2 Odd how Virginia and Maryland get so much federal money.

            Sorry, but I’m not convinced that California’s government is anything more than a siphon of resources and wealth and generally does a poor job running a state with nearly every natural advantage conceivable.

            Oh, yes, no sea lions in Michigan. But then California has only 3,000 lakes for a very large state and Michigan has nearly 12,000 named lakes plus four of the Great Lakes. True, some people don’t like the cold so they vacation in Florida (cheaper than California). But for many, hunting, skiing, hiking, ice fishing, snowmobiling, and other winter activities are a boon. Wisconsin is similar.

          2. Menzie Chinn Post author

            Bruce Hall: Like many states, the share of expenses covered by the state has declined. Unlike Wisconsin, California has allowed tuition and/or fee increases to compensate for those declines. In addition, there is a pro-higher education mentality in California which as far as I can tell is not shared by rural WI.

            A key factor is the openness to new ideas, and various dimensions of diversity. I see you didn’t mention that. Be happy in your Michigan, then.

          3. Bruce Hall

            Menzie, can’t speak to your situation in Wisconsin about how ethnic diversity attitudes are a problem or not. I do know that Asians are generally well received in San Francisco (can’t speak for the rest of the state) and that many are highly skilled and educated with large numbers now coming from China. I’m not sure that there is the same general feeling about low-skilled/educated Latinos. Black Americans make up a smaller portion of the population so, again, there doesn’t seem to be a big issue.

            Here in Michigan we have a high concentration of blacks in several cities (Detroit, Flint, Benton Harbor, Pontiac) along with economic and crime issues. That’s just a fact, not a gratuitous slam. We also have a high number first and second generation Middle Eastern immigrants who have been pretty successful in businesses and politics (including Christian Chaldeans). Two of my sons do a lot of business with a Lebanese immigrant family who established a string of charter schools in the area and have been very successful in that enterprise and still expanding into other states http://www.gee-edu.com.

            There is an enclave or two of Latin Americans, but relatively low income and low profile. Asian immigrants are fairly rare except around Ann Arbor. So, I think “ethnic diversity” speaking, Michigan has some similarity to Wisconsin, but some major differences. My only interest in “diversity” is whether or not these “groups” are contributing positively to our area. We simply do not need more low income/low performance people (we have plenty already); we want higher skilled people who are driven to economic success.

        2. noneconomist

          California is an attractive place period. Those who don’t find it so move or want to. . So far, the government has not IMO hindered the economy. (If it has, look out Germany and Japan? We’re coming for you?)
          Those with less education and skills might disagree; as has been noted, the state has added numerous high paying jobs–those paying $100K+– at the expense of those paying $50K or less.
          State income tax rates for middle income payers are, as I also have said, quire reasonable. A couple filing jointly with a taxable income of $100,000 is taxed at 3.99% (after exemptions). That’s far better than a couple with the same income in Utah, Idaho, or Oregon. Property taxes because of Prop. 13 are also reasonable for older homeowners (mine on a 3/2 1500 sqf will be $1450 for 2019). Not so much, of course, for those who must deal with current high RE prices, but that’s the market and, well, Prop. 13.
          New homes are undergoing feverish construction all over the state. Education IS underfunded, especially given the ethnic diversity of the student population.
          Living costs ARE high, but that’s no surprise. As I have said, if living expenses–and job opportunities– were similar to numerous places in the Rust Belt or Tornado Alley or the Hurricane Zone, the stampede here would be undeniable.
          Stereotyping any place can be a hindrance. Mention Michigan and many immediately think of Detroit. . Mention New Jersey and, I guarantee, northern New Jersey comes immediately to mind. California is no different.

          1. pgl

            “Mention New Jersey and, I guarantee, northern New Jersey comes immediately to mind.”

            New Jersey is not a bad place to live for couples with a family who work in Manhattan. Assuming one can cross the Hudson River to get to work. While the former Governor – Chris Christie – did all he could to screw that up, the good news is that his replacement is working hard to fix Christie’s messes.

          2. Bruce Hall

            non, glad you mentioned Detroit. Since the removal of Kwame Kilpatrick and the corrupt line of government that stretched back to Coleman Young, Detroit is undergoing an amazing transformation under Mayor Mike Duggan who is working closely with the Illitch family (Detroit Tigers, Detroit Red Wings, Little Caesar’s Pizza), Dan Gilbert (Rock Financial), the Ford family, and other wealthy groups. Property values are now as much as ten times what they were just a decade ago. The river front has been completely transformed. The shuttered storefronts are gone. The is massive renovation of buildings.

            Yes, there is still a ring around the core area that will take decades to reverse the decades of decline, but even some of those areas are showing significant change (Detroit will host a PGA Tour even this year). It’s not San Francisco by any means, but San Francisco is not the San Francisco of the 1960s either.


          3. noneconomist

            pgl: my northern NJ comment was meant to reference the common misperception that NJ looks like the opening scenes from any Sopranos episode. Not so, of course.
            You can be, as I found out, a short distance out of NYC and be in a wooded, beautiful landscape. (Assuming you can get out of Newark AP and onto the correct lane of the turnpike/ interstate. Took me three tries last time I did it)
            First time I traveled through the state, I really was amazed at the natural beauty south to north.
            Bruce: been to Michigan in the fall. West side, then Mackinac, UP. Couldn’t fit in the Ford Museum or Dearborn.
            Former neighbor had to return to Michigan to care for ailing parents. After spending 20 years here, she’s been freezing her a___ off and desperately wants to return.
            Latino workers: the biggest need for HIspanic/Latino workers is concentrated in the reddest parts of the state. Always humorous to hear the same people who complain about how much the undocumented cost the state talk out of the other side of their mouths when lamenting their difficulties in finding enough workers. Of course, they’re for the wall (wink! wink!) as long as the fields are tended and crops successfully harvested. Dairy farms? Gee, no undocumented workers there.
            And don’t get me started on the ” help” in Reno, Tahoe, and Las Vegas. Twenty five YEARS ago, I arrived late to a Tahoe weekend, needed food. and was the only English speaker in crowded fast food restaurant. I noticed that crew instructions were printed in both English and Spanish.
            And don’t get me started either on the “help” in Jackson Hole, WY. I’ll save that for another day.
            So, the more things change, the more they really do stay the same.

          4. Bruce Hall

            non Dairy farms? Gee, no undocumented workers there.

            You haven’t actually been to dairy farms in Michigan, have you? My brother’s in-laws run a fairly typical diary farm in the “Thumb”… a couple hundred head with the entire operation run by the two brothers-in-law on pretty much a part time basis. A lot of Mennonite farmers, too; some with several thousand head. I can tell you for a fact that these farms do not use illegal alien laborers or any “Latino” day workers. The farms are as automated as you could imagine. The farmers grow their own feed stock using huge pieces of equipment for sowing and reaping. The cows are trained to go to their milking stations and hooking them up takes a few seconds each. The milking machines disconnect automatically and the cows are released en masse.

            Your vision of agriculture might be appropriate for the vineyards and vegetable fields of California, but is the exception with agriculture in Michigan. Does it occur? Sure, but not often in Michigan and it’s really only relevant in California with 25% of the total U.S. illegal workers. Most of Michigan’s illegal immigrants are in the Detroit area with very little dairy farming going on there. In 2017, there were less than 1,600 deportations of illegals in Michigan… a drop in the bucket compared with the scope in California and the southwest.

          5. noneconomist

            Well, Bruce, neighboring Iowa DOES seem to have an undocumented immigrant problem spread across dairy, hog, and cattle operations.
            The Mollie Tibbetts murder in 2018 had Trump pontificating about the dangers of undocumented immigrants, especially the one who had been working for years on a dairy farm owned by a Trump supporter. (No surprise: many undocumented workers are hired by conservatives who dominate most aspects of ag industries. They work hard, they’re not too expensive, and they know when to keep their mouths shut)
            That was noted in a story in the Des Moines Register headlined
            “Mollie Tibbetts’ Death exposes Iowa’s reliance on undocumented workers”
            The story noted there were an estimated 40,000 undocumented workers working on ag/ranching operations. And this tidbit, “Agriculture wouldn’t be possible because of the amount of labor needed in the DAIRY INDUSTRY, the hog industry, and the cattle industry…”
            Apparently, what works in California also works quite well in Iowa . Maybe that’s part of the reason the Nunes family relocated operations from Tulare County to Iowa, leaving dimwit Devin to protect his rapidly shrinking political base here(I’m sure the Nunes operation and the other conservatives who’ve dominated the Tulare County dairy industry for decades never hired an illegal…wink! wink!)
            This is the vision of agriculture that seems to predominate in many states, not just California. Not to worry though. Build that wall, and there’s no way illegals will never figure out how to get in to the country and employers will never have to worry about hiring them.
            Wink! Wink!

    2. SecondLook

      Most people who aren’t Californians seem to believe that the state’s economy consists of Disney, Google, et al, overlooking what are the top sectors by state GDP:
      1. Finance, insurance and real estate.
      2. Professional and business services.
      3. Government (which includes the very large military presence in California)
      4. Manufacturing (Electrical equipment, non computer, leads the list of products made).

      5th largest economy, more diversified than any other state, and all that jazz.

  4. Moses Herzog

    Never hear any b*tching from Republicans when the “special people” waste federal tax dollars, do we??

    The Marco Rubios, Mitt Romneys, Mitch McConnells. Rand Pauls, John Cornyns, Ted Cruzes and Kevin MCarthys just don’t have a SINGLE damned word to say about it, do they?? Increase the COLA for Social Security or increase the COLA for Medicare and guys like John Cornyn and Paul Ryan have large liquid dysentery right in their pants. But free flights for their wealthy cronies on the taxpayer dime, and Republicans chuckle about it at a Washington DC bar.

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