SEARCH BLOG: ECONOMY and WISCONSIN
I'm going to reiterate what I wrote in the previous post regarding Wisconsin's governor and economy:
Yesterday, I mentioned that I enjoyed a variety of blogs. One is Econbrowser. Recently, there have been a couple of posts targeting the economic performance of Gov. Walker of Wisconsin.
The most recent post disputes Gov. Walker's notion that the state is "heading in the right direction." Based on the data charts shown below lifted from Econbrowser, the author is correct to dispute that notion. [Note the recent trajectory differences between Wisconsin and Michigan]
Figure 1 provides a comparison of Wisconsin's performance, in terms of economic activity, using data released on Thursday by the Philadelphia Fed.
Figure 1: Log coincident index for Wisconsin (WI, bold blue) and US (bold black), and other state indices associated with the Federal Reserve District 7 plus Minnesota, all rescaled to 2011M01=0. Vertical line at 2011M01. Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia and author’s calculations.
...Returning to the macroeconomic indicators for Wisconsin, the Philadelphia Fed provides this map identifying three month trends:
Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, "State Coincident Indexes: December 2011" (January 26, 2012).I posted a couple of comments about this.
First, I noted that in absolute levels for all measures of unemployment [U1 through U6], Wisconsin was below the national average and well below Michigan [a state doing very well in the trajectory charts], although the author argued that such positional metrics were not that meaningful. That despite the fact that the period-to-period change of those metrics was similar for the different geographies. So, then I made the following observation:
I understand the trajectory arguments and that recently Wisconsin has had some less than stellar results while Michigan, for example, has had stellar results [fig. 1 and Fed. map].
Let's frame this differently.
The Green Bay Packers had a regular season record of 15-1 while the Detroit Lions had 10-6. Last year the Green Bay Packers had a regular season record of 10-6 while the Detroit Lions had 6-10. Overall, the Packers ... 5 more wins ... improved slightly versus the Lions... 4 more wins.
Last year, the Packers won the Super Bowl while the Lions failed to make the playoffs. This year, the Packers lost in the first round of the playoffs, while the Lions finally made it to the playoffs also losing in the first round. The Lions improved significantly versus the Packers when compared to last year.
Overall, the performance trajectory for the Lions was much better than the Packers, indicating that the Packers are being lead poorly by Aaron Rogers while the Lions are being led superbly by Matt Stafford.
Trajectory versus position....Let's look at some 2nd half summaries for states from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and note that three states [Illinois, Minnesota, and Indiana] had positive numbers for Total Non-farm Employment [near the bottom of each table] when comparing July with December.
Wisconsin's unemployment percentages are lower than all these other states except Minnesota, so if the loss of non-farm jobs isn't unique, I'd really like to know what specifically caused the changes in other states before making a risky assumption that Gov. Walker was able to cause Wisconsin's losses [beyond the change in government jobs] versus the losses in other states. Sometimes, numbers raise more questions than answers.
The point is that Gov. Walker may be taking the blame for changes in the Wisconsin economy that are not significantly different from changes in nearby states. Wisconsin may have recovered jobs faster than some of these nearby states... maybe too fast... and now may be forced to take a "breather" due to outracing the national economy and the real economic situation last year.
If Wisconsin continues to show job losses over the next six months and surrounding states show job growth [absolute number of non-government, non-farm jobs], then it will be proper to point the finger at Gov. Walker.
Regardless, Matt Stafford did not perform better than Aaron Rogers and Michigan's economic situation is not better than Wisconsin's. Total won versus total lost... versus change in the number won and change in position in the playoffs.I'll take 0.5% of $1 million over 50% of $1,000 any day. Position counts... short-term trajectory, maybe.
Wisconsin Unemployment - Blame Gov. Walker