Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce: “Optimism is falling” in Wisconsin

From the Badger Institute:

Will things improve? No: 47% expect the national economy to “remain flat” over the next six months, and 20% — one in five —expect it to “decline,” as in recession.

“Optimism is falling,” said WMC President Kurt Bauer, who quoted one captain of industry as saying, “We may not be in a recession, but we are certainly in something.”

Here’re some data, suggesting we’re not in a recession as of December:

Figure 1: Wisconsin Nonfarm Payroll Employment (dark blue), Philadelphia Fed early benchmark measure of NFP (pink), Civilian Employment (tan), real wages and salaries, deflated by national chained CPI (sky blue), GDP (red), coincident index (green), all in logs 2021M11=0. Source: BLS, BEA, Philadelphia Fed [1], [2], and author’s calculations.

What about through January? Here’re the weekly indices from Baumeister/Leiva-Leon/Sims, for data releases through 1/27 (for the states, through 2/10 for the US):

Figure 2: Buameister/Levia-Leon/Sims WECI for US (black), WI (blue) ,TX (red), relative to trend y/y, in %. Source: Baumeister/Leiva-Leon/Sims.

Wisconsin growth is above trend, above Texas and US growth. So if the recession is coming to Wisconsin, it’s (likely) not here yet.

Previous appearance of Badger Institute analysis in Econbrowser, here.

7 thoughts on “Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce: “Optimism is falling” in Wisconsin

  1. James

    Menzie – I don’t know what these “captains of industry” may actually be thinking about and what this spokesperson for a conservative right-wing think tank is saying. Shouldn’t someone in industry be more concerned with PPI (either negative or mostly zero for the past 12 months: https://www.economy.com/united-states/producer-price-index-ppi ) rather than CPI?
    The Badger Institute is a “rebranding” of the anti-union Wisconsin Policy Research Institute funded by the Bradley Foundation https://mediabiasfactcheck.com/the-badger-institute/
    By the way – given WI’s aging and plateauing domestic population and all their complaints about how they have to pay workers more – why don’t these “captains of industry” invite some workers from other countries and make sure they are documented to work – that way we can grow WI’s economy – https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2024/02/13/immigration-economy-jobs-cbo-report/ and here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2024/02/14/migrants-states-labor-work-permit/ and CBO here https://www.cbo.gov/publication/59946

    1. pgl

      “Patrick McIlheran, director of policy at the Badger Institute, has decades of top-level policy, communications and political experience. Most recently, he served U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson for more than 10 years in a number of roles”

      I have this evil habit of checking the bios of people who write these pieces. Serving as an advisor to RonJon tells us all we need to know!

  2. Macroduck

    It is occasionally noted here that President Biden has accomplished a great deal in his first term, despite dealing with a divided Congress or an easily filibustered Senate throughout that term. A couple of our local trolls have repeated things they’ve heard on faux news about how little Biden has accomished, but they live in faux world. Historians and political scientists are more likely to assess performance based on facts.

    Well, the votes are in, and Biden is now ranked the14th “greatest” president by participants in the Presidential Greatness Project:


    Trump has once again been ranked at the absolute bottom.

    Happy Presidents’ Day.

  3. Ivan

    When the facts prove those same people wrong (as facts have again and again) they will claim that its all a lie and numbers have been gamed by the deep state.

  4. Moses Herzog

    Menzie, it’s your old pal sauced Moses. Can you please please please please please answer this question??? How optimistically do you view the political redistricting recently in Wisconsin? More fair and truly representative voting results??

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