In between a lot of the data and other developments that flew in last week, you may have missed that the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the monthly state-by-state jobs report for December 2013. With the full year in the books, now is a good time to see where we stand in Wisconsin compared to our peers. This is true not just for 2013, but also for the 3 years since many Midwestern states changed governorships.
The BLS notes that 5 of the 7 Midwestern states had statistically significant increases in employment last year, including Wisconsin, who rode a strong final 3 months to end up with a decent increase in jobs by the end of 2013.
Change in jobs, Dec 2012-Dec 2013, BLS
Ill. +62,200 (+1.08%)
Ind. +51,800 (+1.77%)
Iowa +12,800 (+0.84%)
Mich +63,800 (+1.58%)
Minn +45,800 (+1.66%)
Ohio +25,600 (+0.49%)
Wis. +44,500 (+1.59%)
On a percentage basis, it looks like Wisconsin is right in the middle of the pack of 2013. Not that bad by itself, and certainly something GOP candidates could point to as some kind of success (others would call it mediocrity, but both would be spinning). However, Governor Walker promised Wisconsinites 250,000 private sector jobs over his 4 years in office, so with 3 years in the books, why don't we look at where that stands, and compare with the rest of the Midwest. I'll rank this by percentage change, since some states are larger than others.
Change in private sector jobs, Dec 2010- Dec 2013
(U.S. rate- +6.38%)
Mich +219,400 (+6.71%)
Ind. +177,800 (+6.62%)
Minn +139,500 (+6.22%)
Iowa +54,300 (+4.44%)
Wis. +100,200 (+4.31%)
Ill. +205,300 (+4.27%)
Ohio +178,700 (+4.17%)
Hey, at least we're finally out of last place! But we are way behind the curve when it comes to keeping up with the U.S., or even the Midwest leaders in Michigan, Indiana, and Minnesota. In fact, even with the decent 2013 numbers, the Walker jobs gap continued to grow last year, as the state fell nearly 4,000 private sector jobs further behind the U.S. pace.
last year, it played to the Walker Administration's benefit, showing a higher number of jobs. If you want to do some predicting, it's worth mentioning that the 12-month QCEW jobs increase was around 1,600 LESS than the monthly figures, so if anything, Wisconsin's number may be lowered.
So there's the update. Not as brutal as we saw earlier in 2013, but Wisconsin is still badly lacking when you look at the course of the last 3 years, and not only will we not reach 250,000 private sector jobs in 4 years, we'd be lucky to reach 150,000.