Friday, May 20, 2016

Assume every state besides WI created zero jobs in 2015 -- we’re STILL behind most of the nation

Latest verified jobs report shows that 28 states outperform in four years what Wisconsin accomplished in five years

The headline says it all, but I’ll explain further.

The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development released its most recent verified jobs numbers (not that they matter much anymore to the Scott Walker administration). While the numbers show continued growth for the state, the news is not all that good.

Wisconsin has lagged behind the rest of the nation up to this point. We can’t be sure that these numbers are indicative of continued lagging, but they are similar to numbers we saw one year before, when the Badger State ranked 38th out of the fifty United States in private sector jobs growth. We're left to believe that our ranking could be similar when the full national report is released next month.

Other states have yet to release their verified numbers for 2015. Walker started releasing quarterly reporters early in 2012, initially as a way to drum up support one month before his recall election in June of that year. His administration has continued the practice since then, but because the numbers are out early we can’t compare them yet to other states.

However, a funny thing occurred to me when I started thinking about this most recent release: what if we compared these new numbers, and all of the jobs created in Wisconsin from December 2010 to December 2015, to jobs numbers in states ONLY up to 2014? That is, give Wisconsin a golf handicap: compare its five years of jobs growth to the rest of the nation’s four years of jobs growth, but assume that a net zero jobs are created elsewhere in the rest of the nation, and divide EVERYONE’S jobs growth by five years.

The result? Wisconsin STILL would lag behind most of the country under those assumptions. We’d rank 29th overall nationally in our average yearly rate of private sector jobs growth since Walker took office, and we’d rank 7th out of ten states in the Midwest.

Data derived from BLS, DWD

Our annual jobs growth rate from December 2010 to December 2015 is 1.45 percent on average. Minnesota’s average during that same time period -- again, assuming that they created ZERO jobs in 2015 -- would be about 1.62 percent on average.

In fact, from 2010 to 2014 Minnesota created 177,713 new private sector jobs. From 2010 to 2015 Wisconsin created 13,000 less jobs. In other words, Minnesota (and 27 other states) outperformed in four years what it took Wisconsin to accomplish in five.

So the next time you hear someone touting the “Wisconsin Comeback,” remind them: even with an additional year of jobs numbers, we still fail to catch up to other states' growth (by rate or by raw data).


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