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New Report Takes Comprehensive Look at Weaknesses, Strengths of Wisconsin’s Labor Market

Wisconsin’s economy is adding jobs at a slow pace, wage growth has stalled, and many workers don’t have the security and opportunity they need to get ahead, according to a new Labor Day report released from the Center on Wisconsin Strategy (COWS).

The report, “The State of Working Wisconsin, 2014,” provides a thorough examination of Wisconsin job numbers, wages, poverty, and job quality.

The information on Wisconsin job growth that is included in this report is helpful in deciphering the claims of political candidates who have helped bring a great deal of attention to jobs figures. The report notes that in many ways the hardships for Wisconsin workers mirror the troubles in the national economy. But beginning in 2011, rates of job growth in Wisconsin have fallen behind the national average:

“From January 2011 to June 2014, Wisconsin gained 109,200 jobs, posting growth in the labor market of 4.0 percent. Over that same period, the national economy grew by 6.2 percent. If Wisconsin had simply kept pace with national growth, we would have added 167,622 jobs. That difference – 58,422 missing jobs in Wisconsin – suggests that over the last four years, every time Wisconsin added two jobs, the national economy added three.”

Other serious challenges to economic well-being in Wisconsin include:

  • Wisconsin needs 130,400 jobs today to get back to the 2007 level of employment, taking into account jobs needed to accommodate population growth since then.
  • 175,000 Wisconsin residents are searching for work and unable to find any.  Rates of long-term unemployment in Wisconsin have improved little since the worst days of the recession.
  • The hourly median wage grew a paltry $0.50 between 1979 and 2013, taking inflation into account.
  • Wisconsin women earn just $0.82 for every $1 a man earns.

The Wisconsin economy is not without a few bright spots. Wisconsin residents participate in the labor force at rates much higher than the national average, and Wisconsin’s strong technical college system helps workers get the degrees they need to achieve higher wages.

The outlook for jobs and wages in Wisconsin has improved over the last few years, but too many Wisconsin workers can’t find a job, or are stuck working at low-wage employment without opportunities for advancement. There is plenty of room for improvement, and policymakers can begin by increasing the minimum wage and strengthening our higher education and worker training systems.

Read more in the State of Working Wisconsin, 2014.


Originally posted to WI Budget Project on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 01:14 PM PDT.

Also republished by Badger State Progressive.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Didn't Scotty tell the people of Wisconsin (5+ / 0-)

    that all the good anti-worker policies he implemented in Wisconsin would bring tons and tons of new jobs to Wisconsin?  

  •  I hope the people of Wisconsin vote Snotty Scotty (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jollie Ollie Orange

    out of office, he has greatly damaged the economy and sewn civil divisiveness.  And he is a crook.

  •  58,422 is a gross underestimate (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kalihikane, madcitysailor

    Caused principally by CES inflating Wisconsin's calendar 2013Q4 gains, but we have since found better information via QCEW.

    PolitiFact's (correct) methodology for getting the most accurate view possible for Walker's term to date is to add change the three whole years of QCEW data to the change in the monthly data we have so far in 2014 and that gives 102,813 between December 2010 and July 2014.  That's from a (seasonally-adjusted CES) base of 2,325,300, so a gain of 4.4%.

    Repeating the process for the nation as a whole (QCEW, CES) you get a growth of 8,602,904 over a (seasonally-adjusted CES) base of 108,482,000, so a gain of 7.9%.

    At the national rate then Wisconsin's growth would have been 2,325,300 x 8,602,904 / 108,482,000 = 184,402.

    The jobs deficit under Walker is 81,589.  Every time the Wisconsin economy added five jobs, the scaled national economy added nine.

    Fake candidates nominated by the GOP for the recalls: 6 out of 7. Fake signatures on the recall petitions: 4 out of 1,860,283.

    by GeoffT on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 03:53:01 PM PDT

  •  I had read somewhere (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I'm sorry I do not have the source,

    But a major factor in Wisconsin's slow jobs growth has to do with the type of jobs that Wisconsin lost during the recession- manufacturing.

    When you look at neighboring states like Minnesota, they have a more diverse industry base and fared much better.

    Obviously, the polar opposite policies enacted by the two state governments seem to have made a huge difference.

    I remember the Minnesota GOP crying over and over that the "Sky was Falling"

    Look who's crying now  

    •  We can account for that (3+ / 0-)

      TL;DR: only 7% of the jobs deficit can be explained by Wisconsin's heavier-than-average dependence on manufacturing jobs.


      December 2010 - December 2013 QCEW all private jobs: 2,270,985 -> 2,362,798
      December 2010 - December 2013 QCEW manufacturing jobs: 434,723 -> 455,856
      Ergo, QCEW non-manufacturing jobs: 1,836,262 -> 1,906,942

      December 2013 - July 2014 CES all private jobs: 2,431,400 -> 2,442,400.
      December 2013 - July 2014 CES manufacturing jobs: 464,100 -> 465,900.
      Ergo, CES non-manufacturing jobs: 1,967,300 -> 1,976,500.

      So the totals are:
      Total private: December 2010 base: 2,325,300; gains through July 2014: 102,813
      Manufacturing: December 2010 base: 435,800; gains through July 2014: 22,933
      Non-manufacturing: December 2010 base: 1,889,500; gains through July 2014: 79,880

      United States:

      December 2010 - December 2013 QCEW all private jobs: 107,644,196 -> 114,706,100.
      December 2010 - December 2013 QCEW manufacturing jobs: 11,570,589 -> 12,051,427
      Ergo, QCEW non-manufacturing jobs: 96,073,607 -> 102,654,673

      December 2013 - July 2014 CES all private jobs: 115,541,000 -> 117,082,000
      December 2013 - July 2014 CES manufacturing jobs: 12,053,000 -> 12,160,000
      Ergo, CES non-manufacturing jobs: 103,488,000 -> 104,922,000

      So the totals are:
      Total private: December 2010 base: 108,482,000; gains through July 2014: 8,602,904
      Manufacturing: December 2010 base: 11,592,000; gains through July 2014: 587,838
      Non-manufacturing: December 2010 base: 96,890,000; gains through July 2014: 8,015,066

      Therefore, the Wisconsin jobs deficit is:
      Unweighted private sector jobs deficit = (8,602,904 / 108,482,000) x 2,325,300 - 102,813 = 81,589
      Manufacturing jobs deficit = (587,838 / 11,592,000) x 435,800 - 22,933 = -833 (i.e. Wisconsin is 833 jobs ahead of the national trend in the manufacturing sector).
      Non-manufacturing jobs deficit = (8,015,066 / 96,890,000) x 1,889,500 - 79,880 = 76,426

      Ergo, total Wisconsin jobs deficit weighted by manufacturing/non-manufacturing sectors: 75,593.

      Without this primitive sector weighting, it is 81,589, so only 7% of the jobs deficit can be explained by Wisconsin's heavier-than-average dependence on manufacturing jobs.

      Fake candidates nominated by the GOP for the recalls: 6 out of 7. Fake signatures on the recall petitions: 4 out of 1,860,283.

      by GeoffT on Tue Sep 02, 2014 at 07:53:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

        •  You're welcome. Now, redoing the calculation (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          ... by all supersectors of the economy (construction, manufacturing, trade+transportation+utilities, information, financial activities, professional & business services, education & health services, leisure & hospitality, and everything else), the supersector components of the jobs deficit vs the nation add up to 71,147 i.e. 13% of the job deficit can be explained by Wisconsin's mix of industries differing from the nation's.

          The largest contributor to this is Education & Health Services, which is 23,164 jobs behind the national growth rate; the supersector lagging furthest behind in percentage terms is Professional & Business Services which grew 6.61% in Wisconsin but 12.72% nationwide.

          There is in addition a 0.93% deficit in government jobs (3,875), which shrank 2.43% in Wisconsin but only 1.50% nationwide.

          (n.b. CES's "Mining & logging" doesn't translate directly to QCEW's "Natural Resources & Mining", so they're lumped into "everything else" along with "Other Services" and "Unclassified").

          Fake candidates nominated by the GOP for the recalls: 6 out of 7. Fake signatures on the recall petitions: 4 out of 1,860,283.

          by GeoffT on Wed Sep 03, 2014 at 11:22:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

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