Wisconsin Economic Activity in May

Employment numbers for May were released for today.

Nonfarm payroll employment and the March 2021 Outlook forecast:

Figure 1: Nonfarm payroll employment from April release (blue), forecast from March 2021 Economic Outlook (teal squares), all in 000’s, seasonally adjusted. Source: BLS, DWD, and Wisconsin Department of Revenue.

Nonfarm payroll employment in May was a bit below the DoR’s forecasted level for Q2, growing 1.6% annualized (3600 jobs). The halting pace of job growth could be due to any number of factors, but the argument that enhanced unemployment benefits is not clearly the cause as of May (total number of unemployed were essentially constant April to May) has not yet validated by any formal studies I’m aware of. As of May, WIsconsin NFP is down 4.6% as compared to 5% nationwide.

It’s important to recall the dualistic nature of the recovery, in particular the fact that high contact services employment remains more depressed than that for goods production. The recovery in accommodation and food services seems to have stalled (according to seasonally adjusted numbers), while manufacturing employment has resumed its rise.

Figure 2: Wisconsin manufacturing employment release (blue), and accommodation and food services employment (red, right log scale), all in 000’s, seasonally adjusted. Source: BLS, and DWD.

Manufacturing employment is 1.1% below February 2020 levels, while accommodation and food services are down 16.5% (on a seasonally adjusted basis).

Finally, we can look at how other measures are tracking the Wisconsin economy.

Figure 3: Wisconsin coincident index (black), nonfarm payroll employment (teal), and civilian employment (red), all in logs, 2020M02=0. Source: Philadelphia Fed (May 26 release), BLS via FRED and author’s calculations.

All series are rising, with nonfarm payroll employment showing the slowest growth. Civilian employment, based upon the household instead of establishment survey, shows faster growth, but is much more imprecise, and subject to large revisions. The coincident index, which aims to measure overall economic activity and is calibrated to GDP growth, shows a faster recovery than nonfarm payroll employment.

For lower frequency indicators as of May 26th (GDP, personal income) see this post.




52 thoughts on “Wisconsin Economic Activity in May

  1. pgl

    Can I say we appreciate the extra effort you take providing graphs that are clearly labeled. Of course we often see arrogant know nothings like Princeton Steve who gets mad at you over his lack of reading comprehension skills. Of course I should lay off of him given the utter tirade we got from Econned from the simple request that he take a little time with FRED graphs to make sure the reader knows whether some change is growth per annum v. growth per month.

    Yea he does not take the time to provide decent graphs, properly cite papers, or even stay consistent on what he is saying about macroeconomic theory. And when Barkley tries to politely point out what the literature says – he goes off on another tirade. And of course this is my and Barkley’s fault. GEESH!

  2. Moses Herzog

    OK, I guess I’m gonna have to buy more Wisconsin produced cheese on my next grocery outing. I mean, come on, do I have to do everything for this glorified school superintendent Tony Evers?? The stress of adding two packages of cheese in my grocery cart is getting a bit much. Repeat after me Tony, “Economic Planning”.

    Does this egghead Peters call up ANY of the UW-Madison Economics/Finance profs (not necessarily Menzie, but that would be a good start) and request Guidance/recommendations/counsel on ways to get things moving in the right direction, other than waiting for the wave of national economic recovery to hit Wisconsin’s “shores”?? Didn’t this goofball egghead say something about a beer Garden and seeking advice during his milquetoast campaign for Gov?? Tony Tony Tony Tony………

    1. Barkley Rosser


      Who is this “Peters”?

      I note that Evers is severely constrained in what he can do as the heavily gerrymandered legislature is controlled by GOP in both houses, with quite a few of them seriously Trumpishly dingbatty, the latest being that some of them want to start having an “audit” of the Wisconsin 2020 presidential election there like those people in Arizona are doing.

      1. Moses Herzog

        Evers, my apologies. I’m using Summer heat as my excuse for messing his name up.

        1. Moses Herzog

          Still using grade school stuff.

          Wow, I bet your office friends are impressed with lines like that one. Did you want to say something about my mother now?? Do you ever stop to read what you write or think about what you say??~~when you’re not manufacturing what others have stated. Do you actually think that comes across well to people here?? I hope you get that grade school stuff out of your system online so you don’t embarrass anyone who finds themselves in the bad place of keeping you social company,

          1. Moses Herzog

            Thank you, admirer of Andrew “Office Girls Are My Personal Brothel” Cuomo and avid fanboy of Stephen A. “Women Provoke Violence Against Themselves” Smith. The #MeGrabbyFeelyToo movement is proud of you.

            Not to mention the families of uncounted Covid-19 dead in New York State nursing homes appreciate you awarding Andrew Cuomo “Our nations’s leader in Covid-19 response”. Your “analysis” is priceless to those families of the dead.

    2. Barkley Rosser

      A further sign of how bad the Wis legislature is can be seen by that they are one of those that continues to turn down federal money by not expanding Medicaid coverage. Of course, Scott Walker killed fed-funded high speed rail lines that had been supported by some more reasonable previous GOP governors there, but this sort of thinking still dominates the current legislature.

      1. Barkley Rosser

        And on top of the bad legislature, the Wis Supreme Court is also rontrolled by pretty extremely conservative GOPs as well. Once upon, not all that long ago actually, there were moderate and even liberal/progressive Republicans in Wisconsin, home of the Progressive movement that originally came our of the Republican Party, which was founded in the state in Ripon in 1854 by anti-slavery progressives.

        But the party also produced Joe McCarthy, and the current party has been pretty much taken over by that crowd since at least when Scott Walker became governor. Evers has his work cut out for him just vetoing crazy stuff coming out of the party and legislature, with the court also occasionally blocking him from doing decent things.

        1. James

          Thanks for pointing out the obstructionist WIGOP that Gov Evers has to deal with. I would add that the WI legislature was successfully gerrymandered by WIGOP and Scott Walker during the last census and redistricting. So – we now have a 60/40 (R to D) legislature but the state as a whole votes a narrow 52-53% D and 47%-48% R.
          Also for the most of the past two years – during a public health crisis the WI legislature refused to meet in session (not even via Zoom) – and spent the whole time filing lawsuits to block Evers actions – i.e. the WI bars must be opened! etc. Or meeting to take away the Governor powers that they voted in for Scott Walker.
          Besides refusing to take federal Medicaid money – they are now scheming to take Fed money for education and use it eliminate the top tax rate (those making more than $600,000) – even through the Wisconsin Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) has told them federal $ can not be used like this.
          We have WIGOP/Walker voter suppression laws and partisan redistricting to thank for the special kind of legislative hell – WI lives with. Yes – WIGOP did all these restrictive voting laws about ten years ago.
          Finally – Mr Herzog – thank you for your support of Wisconsin cheesemakers – you might want to consider buying direct from the makers – Landmark Creamery is one I know well in the beautiful town of Paoli, WI https://landmarkcreamery.com/

          1. Moses Herzog

            hahahaha, I get a kick out of buying Wisconsin cheeses, and the truth is I do it for mostly selfish reasons, because I like the quality. Ssssssshhhhhh!!! It’s our secret and as far as you know I do it for altruistic reasons. Roth is the one I usually get, I forgot the name of the other because I think my supermarket of choice stopped carrying the other one. I buy a New York one now in its place , but I will keep looking to see if they stock it again.

  3. Moses Herzog

    I read somewhere lately, a good source or I wouldn’t quote it, that goods production is about 20% of the USA economy. Now assuming that number to be true (I have no reason to believe it’s not close) this again brings up the question of how you get “real” “permanent” high inflation, when most of the USA economy is services based.

    1. Moses Herzog

      I got this wrong, I read goods make up 20% of the weighting of the CPI. Sorry. but anyways, that still implies it would take a larger move in goods to impact the CPI number, I mean I don’t see why services costs should be rising right now. I’m including long-term wages in that BTW, like 2-3 years out.

  4. ltr


    June 17, 2021

    China to further release metal reserves to ease commodity price hikes

    BEIJING — China will further release its state reserves of copper, aluminum and zinc to ensure stable prices of commodities and ease cost pressure on firms, the country’s top economic planner said Thursday.

    The National Development and Reform Commission will work with other departments to release the nonferrous metal reserves in multiple batches as needed in light of market price changes, said Meng Wei, a spokesperson with the commission.

    The National Food and Strategic Reserves Administration on Wednesday announced that it would release national reserves of copper, aluminum and zinc via public bidding.

    The release will be open to nonferrous metal processing and manufacturing enterprises, and small and medium-sized enterprises will be favored in participating in the bidding, Meng said.

    The commission has taken various measures to rein in market speculation and correct the overly high commodity prices, Meng said, adding that price declines have been seen in commodities including iron ore, steel and copper….

    1. ltr


      January 30, 2018

      Consumer Prices for China and India, 2007-2021

      (Percent change)


      January 30, 2018

      Consumer Prices for China and India, 2017-2021

      (Percent change)

      [ What strikes me as important is that Chinese monetary policy which is sector directed rather than economy-wide. At least for a developing economy this strikes me as important, but possibly generally so. The Chinese maintain significant reserves for basic commodities, from pork to rice to zinc and copper. ]

      1. ltr


        January 30, 2018

        Consumer Prices for China, Germany, India, Japan and United States, 2007-2021

        (Percent change)


        January 30, 2018

        Consumer Prices for China, Germany, India, Japan and United States, 2017-2021

        (Percent change)


        January 30, 2018

        Consumer Prices for China, India, Brazil and South Africa, 2007-2021

        (Percent change)


        January 30, 2018

        Consumer Prices for China, India, Brazil and South Africa, 2017-2021

        (Percent change)

  5. ltr


    Dean Baker @DeanBaker13

    IN 2009, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services projected that we would be spending 19.3 percent of GDP on health care in 2019. We actually spent 17.7 percent.

    7:51 AM · Jun 18, 2021

    The difference of 1.6 percentage point of GDP comes to more than $340 billion a year or more than $1,000 for every person in the country. That’s real money by almost any standard.

    [ The Affordable Care Act has been affordable as well as necessary. ]

  6. Moses Herzog

    You know there’s minorities (I won’t name them because that would mean I’m a “horrid horrid person”) who vote for donald trump and wear MAGA merchandise. Why would I focus on the fact minorities vote for the orange colored SOB when whites also vote for him?? For the simple reason many of those whites do not directly suffer from the orange creature’s MAGA policies, while minorities often bear the bulk of the damage for the MAGA policies. Which makes it multiple times as dumb to wear/buy MAGA/trump merch and go out and vote for the orange bastard—when he’s creating policies to destroy your own group.

    We have the Covid-19 cases and deaths dramatically dropping (even with the illiterate sections of America still refusing to take the vaccine) since the broad availability of the vaccine to basically all income groups. Exactly how DUMB do you have to be not to get this vaccine?? Jenny McCarthy level of DUMB ???

    1. Barkley Rosser

      Oh, that’s OK, Moses. Everybody here already knows that you are a “horrid horrid person,” :-).

      1. Moses Herzog

        Coming from you Junior, that’s a badge of honor, and if I actually cared much about anything you said, I’d have that comment framed and hung on my wall, with proper attribution in large bold print.

      2. Moses Herzog

        @ Barkley Junior
        Keep in mind, I’ve never gone on a blog, and in phrasing toned like it was near to the proudest thing of my life, mentioned that an ancestor had “such and such” rank in the Confederate Army. Which if you hadn’t have done would leave the topic moot to me and not worth mentioning—but you did, which brings it to the floor.

        Now, if you or Menzie want to challenge me that you didn’t have this kind of interaction once with 2slugbaits, it’ll be a bearcat to find, but I’ll look that up and link it if that would improve your weekend.

        And similar to your pal pgl acting like a toddler when anyone dares declare a differing opinion, it is things like this which in your eyes, makes me a “horrid” person, and not much of anything else—-certainly not much in the substantive dept.

        1. Barkley Rosser

          Gosh, Moses, you did not notice the “:-)” at the end of my comment? Really flying off the handle a lot today, you are. But, hey, what can one expect from such a horrid horrid person? 🙂 (again)

  7. Moses Herzog

    Seems like an opportune time for Menzie to do a post on “Why The Recent Increase In Jobless Claims Is Probably Just ‘Noise’ “

    So what do you guys think??—- am I good at writing blog post titles??

  8. Moses Herzog

    Let’s see here, go down the stats line for Trae Young:

    “only” 17 missed shots
    5 missed 3-pointers
    4 turnovers

    Only 5 foul shots?? Trae “Flop Fella” Young, only 5 foul shots??? Huh?!?!?!?

    Trae did disappoint Atlanta fans, falling short of his usual level of flopping, so that needs some refinement. I think pgl is gonna have to send Trae some mp4 of European soccer players flopping so when Trae flops it looks more real. I know pgl loves those flop city games. Maybe pgl can send Trae some audio of Fran Drescher whining and whimpering that Trae Young can imitate when he is flopping on the hardwood in fetal position.

    1. pgl

      It is a shame that you prefer to attack this young player rather than actually enjoy a game. Oh wait – you only know how to read a score sheet. But note the 76ers bench played very well. Of course the visiting team has won 4 out of 6 games so I will be watching the game tomorrow night in Philly whereas drunk angry Uncle Moses will waste his time searching for more pointless insults on Trae Young.

      1. Moses Herzog

        Yes, pgl is worried about “young players”. Everyone on this blog knows the type person you are, you have laid it all out here for people to see. So no one here is buying your fake concern for “young players”.

        Your oxygen of life is insulting people on this blog, and misrepresenting their views. What really bothers you is, someone is pointing out an issue about which you are wrong about. And it doesn’t take any “time searching” for Trae Young’s many problems as the designated “point guard” for his team. All you have to do is read a box score. Or didn’t your hero Stephen A. “Women Provoke Violence Against Themselves” Smith ever tell you what a box score is??

        1. pgl

          Awww Uncle Moses got his feeling hurt. Boo hoo. And I laid off your stupid comment about Trae Young flopping. I guess you did not know where this farce started. Mayor DeBlasio turns in his Nets cheerleading to pretend he is a Knicks fan for political points. Of course a lot of Knicks fans have never forgiven him for cheering for the Red Sox as they are also Yankee fans.

          But every credible basketball analysis fell on the floor laughing at this. The play is not to fall on the ground (soccer flopping) but to be so creative on ball handling that the defender literally has to get in your face. So when one does a jump shot, the defender in his over eagerness to stop it does foul you. That is what Trae Young does and for you or your fellow basketball moron to call it flopping is really stupid.

          Of course what made that performance beyond dumb is that De Blasio threw Nets point guard James Hardin under the bus as he is the master at drawing fouls this way. Way to go Mayor.

          No De Blasio is the 2nd dumbest person when it comes to this game. You still hold first place!

    2. pgl

      I decided to check on the % of 3-pointers made since the dumbest basketball analyst made an issue out of this. The Hawks overall made 32.3% which is decent. The 76ers made over 41% which is really good.

      But poor little Trae Young only made 5 3-pointers and as drunk old Uncle Moses noted he missed as many. Oh my – 50% is so TERRIBLE according to someone who knows nothing about the game but does excel at pointless attacks on an upstart black player. MAGA!

      1. Moses Herzog

        @ pgl
        Hey, great “basketball analyst”, in Wednesday’s game Young scored 39 points and was STILL minus-6 on his +/- stat. Go watch ESPN and see if Stephen A. “Women Provoke Violence Against Themselves” Smith can spoon-feed anything for you to regurgitate there.

    3. Moses Herzog

      Blog site “Hit and run” master pgl now getting sentimental and small-town quaint about a “young player” that pgl and Stephen A. ‘Women Bring Violence Against Themselves” Smith have been telling us for the last 2 weeks is the next Stephen Curry. Kinda brings tears to your eyes, doesn’t it??

      1. pgl

        More pointless lies? Come on man – get professional help with your emotional problems. And I even pay the bill.

        1. Moses Herzog

          Yes, anyone who points out something pgl said is false or an intentional misinterpretation of other blog commenters’ views “has emotional problems”. Does that make the world a more comfortable place for you??

          pgl’s obsession and constant revisitation to the topic of mental health with nearly every commenter pgl interacts with on Econbrowser is very suggestive of something. And sadly for pgl I doubt many here have not already figured out the “puzzler” of his infatuation with the topic. pgl telling commenters here they have emotional problems etc, has become the equivalent of Oprah Winfrey telling a studio audience member they’re walking away with a free gift.

  9. pgl

    Barkley insists Uncle Moses lies even more than Trump does. Let’s see his review of Trae’s stats last night:

    “only” 17 missed shots
    5 missed 3-pointers
    4 turnovers

    Wait he also stole the ball 3 times, scored 34 points, and got 2.4 times the number of assists that this drunk fool admits to. Oh wait – he did not get 15 rebounds so it had to be a terrible performance.

    Yes Moses lies a lot and the funny thing as his lies are even more pointless than those from Sarah Palin. Maybe his kids can give him a MAGA hat for Father’s Day.

    1. Moses Herzog

      “Barkley insists Uncle Moses lies even more than Trump does.”

      It’s fun listening to two children playing in the sandbox and mimicking each other’s noises, isn’t it??

      1. pgl

        Two children? No Moses – all your sandbox buddies have decided to avoid you given your clear emotional problems.

    1. pgl

      And you accuse others for misrepresentation and insulting? I bow down to the Master at this!

    1. Barkley Rosser


      Not able to get past firewall, so could not see much of Bernie’s argument other than that there are areas where US and China should cooperate. I happen to agree with that, and I have regularly called for a balanced approach by Biden toward China. I think on a few points he may be pushing too hard, and I would like to see him roll back most of the Trump tariffs, although I know there are issues about not being able to do that quickly that Menzie has pointed out.

      OTOH, the PRC leadership seems to be going out of its way recently to offend and annoy other nations, both those far away as well as those nearby. Xi seems to think that since he declared he will be Supreme Leader for a lifetime he is an emperor and other nations should bow down and be tributaries to the newly revived Middle Kingdom.

      The latest such tickoff involves the Philppines, where Duterte had been quite friendly towards Xi and the PRC on many matters. But the Chinese military has goin and grabbed another reef near the Philippines that the entire world agrees belongs to the Philippines, except fot the Chinese I guess. Duterte has become quite angry and is now sharply criticizing this action by the Chinese leadership and now changing his policies and approaches on a number of issues.

      Really, if Xi and the Chinese leaders want to have cooperation with other nations they need to stop doing these sorts of unacceptably aggressive actions.

  10. Moses Herzog

    Menzie, your NBER has a relatively new paper on UIP and the Fama “puzzle”. Thought you’d take an interest.

    1. Ulenspiegel

      Yep, but you forgot to mention that researchers in Hong Kong found a lower efficacy of the Sinovac product in comparison to the Biotech product. A difference which may explain the high infection rate among vaccinated health workers in India…

      1. Moses Herzog

        Indonesia is having lots of fun with Beijing’s Psychofram vaccine.

        Lots of U.S.A. states are claiming they have a surplus of Johnson and Johnson vaccines, and apparently no officials in India or Indonesia want the Johnson and Johnson. And government officials wonder why some people fantasize about taking them off of planet Earth. Do they think it engenders affection from citizens when they have an easy solution and say “let them die”?? It’s hard for me to believe that with say India for example that the U.S. Army and U.S, Navy wouldn’t at least make half an effort to get Johnson and Johnson over there if they weren’t well aware that Narendra Modi continually has his head all the way up his A– .

      2. pgl

        We have pointed this out many times to ltr (anne) and she never acknowledges this pesky fact. She has zero credibility on this matter – none.

  11. ltr


    June 19, 2021

    Job Growth and Temporary Layoffs
    By Dean Baker

    An obvious point on the pace of job growth, that I had not paid attention to in recent months, is that it is easier to recall someone from a layoff than hire a new worker. (That’s one reason that some of us thought the paycheck protection program was a good idea and that work sharing should be promoted as widely as possible.) Anyhow, as the economy has mostly reopened from the pandemic shutdowns, the number of unemployed workers who report being on temporary layoffs has fallen sharply. Here’s the picture.


    As can be seen the number of people reporting that they were on layoffs soared during the shutdown last spring. It peaked at over 18 million in April of last year and then fell sharply through the summer. It was down to 4.6 million by September. It continued to fall through the rest of the year, but it was still at 2.7 million in January. Since then it has dropped by roughly one-third to just over 1.8 million in May.

    This is still considerably higher than what we would see in a healthy economy, the figure had been around 1.0 million in 2014 and 2015, and had been under 800,000 just before the pandemic hit. But the figure is not extraordinary for a recession. The number of people reporting they were on temporary layoffs in the Great Recession peaked at just over 1.9 million in September of 2009.

    This matters in terms of the pace of job growth that we can reasonably expect going forward….

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