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Wisconsin Employment in September

Summary:
DWD released September figures today. Nonfarm payroll employment trends sideways, as manufacturing and high contact services employment like leisure and hospitality services resume a divergence. The release makes a few points. Here are my key observations. The establishment survey indicates stall in total and private nonfarm payroll (NFP) employment (Figure 1). The zero gain in NFP compares to neighbor Minnesota’s 0.6% m/m gain. Household survey indicates much faster growth (Figure 1) – but is subject to much greater measurement error and subsequent revisions Total nonfarm payroll employment and high contact services employment both lag July 2021 Department of Revenue (DoR) forecasts (Figures 2, 4) Manufacturing outpaces the DoR forecast, but also national gains (Figure 3) Leisure and

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DWD released September figures today. Nonfarm payroll employment trends sideways, as manufacturing and high contact services employment like leisure and hospitality services resume a divergence.

The release makes a few points. Here are my key observations.

  • The establishment survey indicates stall in total and private nonfarm payroll (NFP) employment (Figure 1). The zero gain in NFP compares to neighbor Minnesota’s 0.6% m/m gain.
  • Household survey indicates much faster growth (Figure 1) – but is subject to much greater measurement error and subsequent revisions
  • Total nonfarm payroll employment and high contact services employment both lag July 2021 Department of Revenue (DoR) forecasts (Figures 2, 4)
  • Manufacturing outpaces the DoR forecast, but also national gains (Figure 3)
  • Leisure and hospitality in Wisconsin underpaces nation (Figure 5). The m/m growth of 0.6% lags behind neighbor Minnesota’s 4.1%.

First, overall trends:

Wisconsin Employment in September

Figure 1: Wisconsin nonfarm payroll employment from July release (black), private nonfarm payroll employment (teal), civilian employment (red), s.a., all in logs, 2020M02=0. Source: BLS, DWD, and author’s calculations.

Wisconsin Employment in September

Figure 2: Wisconsin nonfarm payroll employment from September release (black), forecast from July 2021 Economic Outlook, released in August (teal), all in 000’s, seasonally adjusted. Source: BLS, DWD, and Wisconsin Department of Revenue.

Next, goods producing and high contact services, using manufacturing and leisure and hospitality services as proxies.

Wisconsin Employment in September

Figure 3: Wisconsin manufacturing employment from September release (black), forecast from July 2021 Economic Outlook, released in August (teal), all in 000’s, seasonally adjusted. Source: BLS, DWD, and Wisconsin Department of Revenue.

Wisconsin Employment in September

Figure 4: Wisconsin leisure and hospitality services employment from September release (black), accommodation and food services subcategory employment (red), and forecast from July 2021 Economic Outlook, released in August (teal), all in 000’s, seasonally adjusted. Source: BLS, DWD, and Wisconsin Department of Revenue.

Leisure and hospitality services lags the US overall.

Wisconsin Employment in September

Figure 5: Wisconsin leisure and hospitality from September release (black), and US (blue), s.a., in logs, 2020M02=0. Source: BLS, DWD, and author’s calculations.

If you were expecting an acceleration in Wisconsin employment growth due to the ending of extended unemployment benefits, you would be hard pressed to find evidence of them. Overall civilian employment was of 0.19% vs 0.15% m/m, but down from 0.3% in June and July. Accommodation and food services growth was 0.47% down from 0.52% in August (and down from 1.7% in July). This pattern may change in October, with a longer post-enhanced benefits period in play.

Schmidt at Wisconsin State Journal has some reactions from economists.

Menzie Chinn
He is Professor of Public Affairs and Economics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison

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