Wisconsin Lags National Average in Job Growth

Thursday, June 27, 2013 at 3:01 PM by

Wisconsin continues to lag behind the national average in private sector job growth, new figures for 2012 show. Wisconsin ranked 33rd among the states for job growth in 2012.

In 2012, the number of private sector jobs in Wisconsin grew by just 1.4%, nearly a whole percentage point less than the national average growth rate of 2.3%. If Wisconsin’s job growth had kept pace with the national average in 2012, Wisconsin would have had an additional 21,000 private sector jobs at the end of 2012.

Wisconsin’s job growth in 2012 also lagged behind that of most other Midwest states. Wisconsin edged out Illinois in job growth, but the other Midwest states of Iowa, Ohio, Minnesota, Indiana, and Michigan all had better job growth than Wisconsin in 2012, as shown in the chart below.

You can read the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel article on the new job numbers here. These figures are from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, which is generally regarded as the most reliable source of jobs numbers.  One downside of the QCEW jobs figures is that they are less up-to-date than jobs figures from other sources.

Based on job growth between December 2010 and December 2012, Wisconsin is on pace to create 124,000 new private sector jobs during Governor Walker’s four-year term. That’s almost exactly half the 250,000 new jobs that Governor Walker said would be created during that period.  Over the first two years of Governor Walker’s term, Wisconsin ranks 38th among the states in private sector job growth.

A more current gauge of economic performance is a measure the Philadelphia Federal Reserve developed called the Coincident Index, which combines four state-level indicators: non-farm payroll employment, average hours worked in manufacturing, the unemployment rate, and wage and salary disbursements. This week they released their report for the past three months (March through May) and Wisconsin ranked 47th.   The index for Wisconsin fell by 0.1% over the past three months, whereas the national average grew by 0.7%. 

Given Wisconsin’s poor rate of job growth compared to other states, it seems safe to say that the deep cuts in state spending advocated by the Governor and some legislators have not helped spur job creation.

Tamarine Cornelius

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