Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Bureau of Labor Statistics Says Wisconsin Job Creation Performance Worst in the U.S. in October 2011

 Is Wisconsin Effectively Open For Business?

Governor Walker promised to run his administration like a business: lean, efficient, result-oriented and based on measurable performance data.  His core metric was to be job creation in the private sector.  As his 2010 campaign's website stated:
One of the keys to the future of our state’s economy is setting and meeting goals. For too long, politicians and bureaucrats have taken the state’s economy for granted and delayed action until a business was on the verge of declaring bankruptcy or moving to a new state. Instead of reacting to each crisis as it comes, I will develop strategies for creating 250,000 new jobs and 10,000 new businesses by 2015.
These goals will guide every decision made by my administration; every initiative that’s undertaken and every program that’s administered will be examined for its effect on jobs. Every decision must be considered in the context of what it means for job creation and economic recovery.
I posted yesterday and previously about the fact that the Wisconsin job creation numbers have been dismal.  Wisconsin DWD Secretary Reggie Newson issued a press release on Thursday attacking the job reporting requirements of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), claiming that the monthly preliminary numbers for Wisconsin had been revised significantly in the month following their initial release, and that the preliminary numbers tended to make Wisconsin's job creation curve look unduly flat:
“The monthly revisions show a much steadier trajectory with gains being higher and losses being much lower than the BLS’ initial reports. While there certainly is more progress to be made, we are moving Wisconsin in the right direction and laying the groundwork for the private sector to create jobs.”
I wondered what had inspired this attack on a national data system that seemed to be working quite well back in April, May and June when the Governor appeared to be on track to meet his 250,000 new private sector jobs promise.  So I went to the BLS monthly report released on all 50 states' performance in October that was released on November 22, 2011.  There I found that the BLS had singled out Wisconsin as being the only state in the country with a statistically significant decline in employment during October:
In October, non-farm payroll employment increased in 39 states and the District of Columbia, and decreased in 11 states. The largest over-the-month increases in employment occurred in Illinois (+30,000) and California (+25,700). The largest over-the-month decrease in employment occurred in Wisconsin (-9,700), followed by New York (-8,300) and Minnesota (-6,100). Delaware experienced the largest over-the-month percentage increase in employment (+1.0 percent), followed by North Dakota (+0.7 percent) and Oklahoma (+0.6 percent). Wisconsin experienced the largest over-the-month percentage decline in employment (-0.4 percent), followed by Maine, Rhode Island, and Wyoming (-0.3 percent each). 

Here is Table C from the report that details states with statistically significant increases or decreases in employment between September and October 2011:

The change detailed by this report of BLS on October job figures has now been followed by a month where the job losses in Wisconsin are even direr.  Wisconsin DWD reported losing 11,700 non-farm private sector jobs and 2,900 government jobs in November.

If the state government is going to be run like a business, it is time for a new plan to be circulated by the CEO that explains why we are seeing such poor results and lays out a new path for achieving the four year plan.  Think of the state citizens as the board of directors of the business.  It is time for the board to be approached by the CEO in a proactive way explaining either why we are seeing delayed results from the current business model, or why that model is going to be replaced by a different one that will show better results.

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