Some Observations on the Wisconsin Employment Outlook

The Walker Administration’s Economic Outlook forecasts private employment in January 2015 will be 115 thousand below the goal set forth by Governor Walker in August 2013. Wisconsin nonfarm payroll employment will not reattain prior peak levels until 2015Q2.

Figure 1 depicts how far employment is lagging Walker’s pledge, even by the Administration’s forecast.


Figure 1: Private nonfarm payroll employment (red), forecast from November 2014 Wisconsin Economic Outlook, quadratic match interpolation (green), trend consistent with Governor Walker’s August 2013 pledge to create 250,000 net new private sector jobs (gray). Source: BLS, Wisconin Economic Outlook (November 2014), Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (August 2013), and author’s calculations.

The Wisconsin Economic Outlook also details the fact that nonfarm payroll employment growth will decelerate, not exceeding the 2008Q1 peak (the forecast is on a quarterly basis) until 2015Q2. Figure 2 compares US (and Minnesota) performance against Wisconsin’s; all employment series are normalized to 2008Q1.


Figure 2: Log US nonfarm payroll employment (black), Minnesota (blue), Wisconsin (red), and forecast from November 2014 Wisconsin Economic Outlook, all normalized to 2008Q1=0. NBER defined recession dates shaded gray. Source: Source: BLS, Wisconin Economic Outlook (November 2014), NBER, and author’s calculations.

In contrast, United States NFP exceeded the 2008Q1 level by 2014Q2 (and Minnesota, Wisconsin’s next door neighbor, in 2013Q4). Interestingly, the Economic Outlook indicates sharp employment growth deceleration in 2015Q2.

For more, see Mike Ivey/Capital Times

22 thoughts on “Some Observations on the Wisconsin Employment Outlook

  1. T Thomson

    Please Professor Chinn – Governor Walker was triumphantly re-elected.

    President Obie is in the process of trashing the liberal/progressive brand as comprehensively as Carter the First.

    This is so over and so unimportant. You are so interesting on soooo many other topics. Please……

    1. Ed Hanson


      I disagree that this too is unimportant not to post, too much time has been invested in it to give up now. But T Thompson is correct about the importance of Governor Walker’s reelection. T should have gone further. Walker’s party gained seats in the legislature as well as taking all but one statewide offices. This shows Walkers agenda has widespread state support as well as showing the rather obnoxious continuing campaign by the public employee unions does not work. Hurray.

      And how about the similar results in Kansas, as well as Minnesota, except of course, Dayton’s party lost one house of the Legislature.


    2. Jake fomerly of the LP

      Walker the candidate may have won (by the smallest margin of his 3 elections in a lower-turnout midterm). Walker’s policies most certainly did not, as shown by the overwhelming votes in Wisconsin to raise the minimum wage and expand Medicaid under Obamacare.

      And Dr. Chinn didn’t even mention the $2.9 billion in budget deficits that Walker’s Bush-like “tax cut and spend on my buddies” policies have now left Wisconsin with, leaving the state in worse fiscal shape than it was when Walker took office 4 years ago.

      You can talk all you want, but Dr. Chinn and I LIVE HERE, and see the results. Just because angry white men voted for the pro-racist candidate that lied to them doesn’t mean that they agree with what those people are doing in office. And you know it as well as we do.

    3. Robert Hurley

      Please try to address the economic question rather than answering a political question. I think this is what Daniel Kahneman calls substituting questions. You have evidentially found it hard to answer the question raised and found a question that is easier for you to answer.

  2. KMiller

    T Thompson, didn’t realize once a politician is elected they can do and say whatever, but never be held to account. Face it partisan attitudes are grinding this country to a halt.

  3. Ed Hanson


    How true is your support for Minnesota against your home of Wisconsin?

    Who are you rooting for next week?

    I know who I support, go Gordan!


  4. PeakTrader

    There are differences between Minnesota and Wisconsin, particularly at the city and county levels. For example:

    Twin Cities jobless rate — at 4% — is the lowest in U.S.
    July 2, 2014

    The Twin Cities boasts the best unemployment rate of any large metropolitan area in the United States…the health care economy never slacked off during the recession and then has continued to boom,” said Louis Johnston, an economist at the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University. “We have a big footprint in health care, both with medical devices and indirectly with UnitedHealth.”

    Johnston also said the oil boom in North Dakota has helped the Twin Cities job market in subtle ways that aren’t felt in other major cities.“We’re the closest metropolitan area to the Bakken, and I think that’s helped us a lot, especially in finance, insurance and logistics,” he said.

    A boom of construction projects in the Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington area, as the government defines it, has added nearly 10,000 jobs in the past 12 months.

    The state, which has recouped all of the jobs lost during the recession, has the third-highest ranking of labor force participation in the nation. Some 70.6 percent of workers are in the job force.


    Milwaukee ranked fourth poorest city in nation
    October 5, 2010

    In a report released last week by the U.S. Census Bureau, Milwaukee ranked fourth on a list of poorest cities in the United States in 2009. Only Detroit, with a 36.4 percent poverty rate, Cleveland with 35 percent and Buffalo with 28.8 percent ranked higher (compared to 27 percent for Milwaukeeans) for cities with populations of more than 250,000, according to the U.S. Census American Community Survey.

    This poverty ranking also provides an additional campaigning point for both gubernatorial candidates, Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker (R) and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (D), as they prepare for elections this November.

  5. Bruce Hall

    Wisconsin also has a college participation rate 10 pts below Minnesota.

    If Gov. Walker could only force Wisconsinites to become educated enough to qualify for the jobs that the Minnesotans are getting. Perhaps there is something different between the populations of those states.

    The high school graduation rates are about the same, but Wisconsinites seem content to call it quits there. Is it the education system? Maybe they graduate, but are not qualified to go on to college.

      1. Jake fomerly of the LP

        And that’s continuing, PeakTrader. Especially with Wisconsinites moving to higher-employment and the higher quality of life in Minnesota over the last few years. Not a coincidence.

        Only positive of this trend means that there will be a whole lot of Packer fans in TCF Stadium today for Packers-Vikes.

        1. Bruce Hall

          Jake, in 2013 the net migration from Wisconsin to Minnesota was about 2,000 people… hardly enough to mention.

          The problem with this post is that it implies that Wisconsin is in a job crisis under Walker even though unemployment has dropped to 5.4%. At that level, voters are not going to rebel on the basis of economic deprivation. Given the half-billion dollar surplus in the state budget reported in October, the taxpayers are probably thinking, “Hmmm, Walker delivered.”

          This dead horse has been beaten enough.

        2. PeakTrader

          All Walker has to do is create new industries, to replace the old “Rust Belt” industries, and reverse the vicious cycle, turning it into a virtuous cycle instead, through a fast growing metropolis.

          Very simple.

          Then other basket case cities can take note and there will be an overabundance of high-tech/high-paying jobs 🙂

    1. Jake fomerly of the LP

      And Bush beat Kerry in 2004,, DIckF. But which voters were proven right?
      You losers of history never learn anything, do you? You just shoot your mouths off regardless of reality. And you just illustrated how Walker won- enough people were too gutless and/or racist to admit that the state is going backwards and that WHAT THEY WANT TO BELIEVE ISN’T WORKING.

      Walker’s second four-year term looks to go about as good as Bush’s, with the deficit exploding accordingly.

  6. Patrick R. Sullivan

    My guess is that Menzie helped Scott Walker win. The Wisconsin electorate, or at least a significant portion of it, got sick and tired of the wailing and gnashing of teeth from the unionistas.

    1. Menzie Chinn

      Patrick R. Sullivan: I am still waiting to hear you admit you were in error regarding depth of the downturn in Canada vs. US during the Great Depression. As you recall, you stated unequivocally:

      Canada … had a less severe depression than the USA.

      And this statement is wrong.

        1. baffling

          actually ed, i think its kind of funny. it is the blogosphere way of holding somebody accountable for their arguments. its a reminder that people should not take patrick’s comments seriously.

  7. run75441

    Not a bad read if you all are interested in more than just political nonsense. Walker has not helped the economics in Wisconsin and blaming union direct labor cost is a non-starter in resolving the issue of a declining economy in Milwaukee and Wisconsin. One could start by tying the fate of the suburbs to that of Milwaukee and changing the population makeup of the metropolitan area and the WOW counties.

Comments are closed.