Wisconsin Economic Outlook: May 2024

The employment forecast improves – from Wisconsin DoR:

Figure 1: Wisconsin nonfarm payroll employment (bold black), forecast from Nov. ’23 (red), from Feb. ’24 (tan), and May ’24 (sky blue), all in 000’s, s.a. Source: BLS, Wisconsin Department of Revenue.

Hence, since Wisconsin GOP’s January statement that Wisconsin was in recession, employment has grown. While it is possible for employment to increase even as a state is in recession, this combination seems highly improbable.

With a positive reading on national employment, it’s unsurprising that the Department of Revenue sees continued growth in Wisconsin employment.




8 thoughts on “Wisconsin Economic Outlook: May 2024

  1. Macroduck

    One more time – why “they’re taking our jobs ” is a crock. The picture is a bit clunky, so I’ll explain below:


    The picture includes three data series – the % change in payroll employment, the % change in real GDP and the U3 jobless rate. When GDP is rising at an average pace or better, employment rises at an average pace or better. When GDP rises, employment rises and the unemployment rate falls. You all knew that. (In 2021 and 2022, swings in growth happened so fast that hiring lagged GDP, even when viewed on an annual basis. Don’t sweat that.)

    Notice that GDP typically rises faster than employment. That’s for a number of reasons, first among which is the rise in labor productivity. Notice also that when the unemployment rate is low, the gap between GDP growth and employment growth narrows. That’s because productivity growth slows when we’re near full employment; not enough qualified workers to fill all the job. That’s sort of axiomatic and it can be a drag on growth.

    Right now, labor demand is high relative to supply. While that is probably slowing growth, hiring remains strong because there is a reserve of labor outside the U.S. which is helping to meet hiring demand. Cut off that reserve and you cut off growth.

    Don’t believe me that the labor market is tight? Then believe the National Federation of Independent Business:

    “Overall, 60% of small business owners reported hiring or trying to hire in May, up four points from April. Fifty-one percent (85% of those hiring or trying to hire) of owners reported few or no qualified applicants for the positions they were trying to fill.”


    It’s a pretty sure bet that nobody is taking somebody else’s job when nobody is showing up for half the current job openings.

    1. Macroduck

      Sorry, that’s 85% of job openings not receiving qualified applicants. My bad.

    2. pgl

      One thing I noticed about these small business owners is how they whined that they may have to increase wages in order to attract more workers. I guess business people do not appreciate a competitive free market after all.

  2. Macroduck

    Speaking of Wisconsin. Senator Ron Johnson has for some time been accused of knowingly pushing Russian propaganda, a charge he claims is part of a conspiracy to frame him:


    Interestingly, even as Johnson deflects accusations of fronting for Russia, he just keeps repeating Russian propaganda. At a “Christian” (MAGA-aligned Protestant) foreign policy gathering sponsored by American Moment, Johnson spouted a stream of Russian talking points justifying the invasion of Ukraine. There is a YouTube video which I won’t link to, so as to avoid burdening our hosts. It’s easy to find – just type “Theology of American Statecraft: just war” into a browser.

    After an few minutes of accusing the left of dividing the country, Johnson repeats his first Russian talking point at around 9.17. He really gets rolling just after 11.45.

    Marjorie is going to have to work harder if she wants to maintain pride of place as Russia’s top stooge in Washington. Fortunately for Marjorie, Johnson may need to keep his head down for a while, what with renewed attention to evidence that he knowingly participated in the Wisconsin fake electors scheme:


  3. James

    Speaking of Wisconsin jobs – I am hopeful that Wisconsin will get an Economic Development Administration’s (EDA) Regional Technology and Innovation Hubs (Tech Hubs) program grant. https://www.baldwin.senate.gov/news/press-releases/baldwin-makes-final-pitch-to-biden-administration-to-fund-wisconsin-tech-hub It will help with research funding and create jobs across the state – but especially in Waukesha and Dane Counties – even the WI GOP helped with matching $7.5 million funding for the grant proposal. Here is a list of private companies that are participating in this grant proposal – https://www.bioforward.org/directory/#!directory/map
    It will help Wisconsin add to and transition from an manufacturing hub (think HD motorcycles and Briggs & Stratton engines) into the bio-health manufacturing and research sector.
    By the way – I am constantly amazed by the bio-health research/office space being build on the west side of Madison – the corporate office park there has gone from mostly empty fields to now mostly filled corporate headquarters in the past five or six years. Also – full disclosure – I have some friends that work in the sector and they say the grant will be trans-formative for bio-health in the state.

    1. Ivan

      Inartful indeed. I think little Lindsey lost more than his dignity, when Trump blackmailed him into kissing MAGA ass unless he wanted to be outed. He never seemed able to untie the knot on his tongue after that.

  4. Macroduck

    Populist right-wing politicians won big in EU elections. Macron has called an election in France.

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