Wisconsin Manufacturing Employment and Manufactured Exports

Does Wisconsin’s fortunes — as a manufacturing heavy state — depend on what happens in the rest-of-the world? The answer is, partly, yes…

Today’s employment release shows continued employment growth in manufacturing.

Figure 1: Exports of manufactured goods attributed to Wisconsin, in millions $, seasonally adjusted using monthly multiplicative monthly dummies (blue, left log scale), and Wisconsin manufacturing employment, 000’s, s.a. (brown, right log scale). Source: Census, BLS and DWD, and author’s calculations. For how “exports” are accounted for at a state level, see here.

The two series look like they’re moving in tandem, but it could be that both are being affected by common shocks, rather than one causing the other. In fact, almost assuredly this is true – exports to RoW are driven by the increase in RoW economic activity that is happening at the same time as surge in US activity. On the other hand, it makes sense that Wisconsin manufacturing fortunes depend independently on exports. As discussed in this recent post, continued progress in dealing with the pandemic by way of vaccination in other countries — and hence not relying upon lockdowns — is key to sustaining US and Wisconsin exports.

Wisconsin manufacturing exports (gross value) in 2020m01 were about $19 billion (annualized), while Wisconsin manufacturing value added in 2020Q1 was about $60 billion (annualized). One would want to compare value added in exports to value added production, but at least these numbers emphasize the point that Wisconsin depends on exports…

In other words, Wisconsin’s fortunes (as are the Nation’s) are tied with the world’s.



13 thoughts on “Wisconsin Manufacturing Employment and Manufactured Exports

  1. Moses Herzog

    I’m beating a dead horse, or walking over old territory here, but it always kind of killed me that the same people who were against lockdowns were against masks and vaccinations. Theoretically, if you are anti-lockdown then shouldn’t you be pro-masks and pro-vaccines, because masks and effective/efficacious vaccines eliminate lockdowns?? I guess this is just one of those things where my brain works different somehow.

    1. pgl

      As someone who spent time in Nashville living near Vanderbilt’s awesome medical school, it sickens me that Tennessee Republicans have pulled their stunt that will end up getting lots of children infected with this virus. The Vanderbilt Medical School with a huge donation from Dolly Parton helped get these vaccines moving. Maybe Dolly should hold a pro-vaccine concert.

      Kevin Drum has a nice take down of some stupid National Review post where the National Review claimed the White House’s efforts to combat vaccine misinformation is some sort of censorship. WTF is wrong with these rightwing retards?

      1. pgl

        I saw that. Look – they make decent food but they are also the types who would deny LGBT types from ordering their chicken. 60 years ago – they were also the types who told blacks they could not sit at the counter. They pretend to be Christians – which of course is utter BS.

        Lindsey Graham on the other hand has never been more than a clown. Impeach Clinton over a blow job but excuse all the forms of treason by King Donald I. Phew!

      2. pgl

        “It’s disappointing to hear some ND students and faculty want to ban Chick-fil-A from doing business on campus because they disagree with the values held by the Chick-fil-A founders,” Graham argued. “What a dangerous precedent to set.”

        Values? What values? Fear of the gay, racism, devotion to a wannabe tyrant. Yes – good old Christian values. Lindsey needs to get his white sheets from the cleaners before the meeting of the KKK at the lodge tonight.

    1. pgl

      Biden noted Facebook is ‘killing people’ with this disinformation. Let’s also include Twitter, Instagram, and Amazon.com and those 12 infamous right wing “influencers” which includes ugly old Majorie Taylor Greene backed by the Putin government.

  2. ltr


    January 30, 2018

    Employees in Manufacturing as a share of all Employees and (Exports of Nonagricultural Goods minus Imports of Nonpetroleum Goods) as a share of Gross Domestic Product, 1968-2021


    January 30, 2018

    Employees in Manufacturing as a share of all Employees and (Exports of Nonagricultural Goods minus Imports of Nonpetroleum Goods) as a share of Gross Domestic Product, 1988-2021

  3. ltr


    July 16, 2021

    0.16 Percent of All Workers are Union Members Employed by Utilities

    That data point probably should have been mentioned in a New York Times article * reporting that relatively few of the jobs created in the clean energy sector are high-paying union jobs. The piece tells readers that this means that the shift to clean energy could end up increasing inequality:

    “While Mr. Biden has proposed higher wage floors for such work, the Senate prospects for this approach are murky. And absent such protections — or even with them — there’s a nagging concern among worker advocates that the shift to green jobs may reinforce inequality rather than alleviate it.”

    Last year, there were 219,000 union members employed by utilities. Even if these jobs were eliminated over night it would have a small impact on inequality in a workforce of 150 million. As a practical matter, even an aggressive push towards clean energy would likely still mean phasing out these jobs over a 20 year period. That would mean losing an average of 22,000 jobs a year.

    The impact of this pace of job loss in the utility sector would be dwarfed by other factors, like government-granted patent and copyright monopolies or the overall unemployment rate, in determining the extent of inequality in the country. The impact of the explosion of the trade deficit in the first decade of this century was an order of magnitude larger, yet it received almost no attention from the media at the time it was happening.

    If we are concerned about inequality, we still should try to promote union jobs in the clean energy sector as much as possible. However, union employment in the sector is simply too small to have a major impact on economy-wide measures of inequality.

    * https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/16/business/economy/green-energy-jobs-economy.html

    1. ltr


      January 15, 2021

      United States Union Membership Rates, 2000-2020

      Private wage and salary workers

      2000 ( 9.0)
      2001 ( 8.9) Bush
      2002 ( 8.6)
      2003 ( 8.2)
      2004 ( 7.9)

      2005 ( 7.8)
      2006 ( 7.4)
      2007 ( 7.5)
      2008 ( 7.6)
      2009 ( 7.2) Obama

      2010 ( 6.9)
      2011 ( 6.9)
      2012 ( 6.6)
      2013 ( 6.7)
      2014 ( 6.6)

      2015 ( 6.7)
      2016 ( 6.4)
      2017 ( 6.5) Trump
      2018 ( 6.4)
      2019 ( 6.2)

      2020 ( 6.3)

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