On April 2nd a year ago I wrote a 600 word piece on Wisconsin jobs through 2010. At the time Governor Walker delighted attacking and taunting state employees, but I recall part of his taunt was “I will create jobs in the private sector.” In 2010 the monthly average of statewide jobs was down 15.3 thousand from 2009. In 2011 the monthly average of statewide employment was up 11.9 thousand from 2010, not enough to replace the prior year’s losses and still 93 thousand jobs below the statewide average for 2000.
The 2011 Wisconsin increase was 40th of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. An increase of 11.9 thousand new jobs is an annual growth rate of .44 percent, less than half the national average. Alabama, Mississippi and Arkansas actually lost jobs as did Missouri and Montana, but none of the losers have as many jobs as Wisconsin. Utah with only 1.2 million statewide jobs managed to create more than 25 thousand new jobs. For a state like Wisconsin with 2.7 million jobs the 2011 increase was measly at best.
In the national economy three sub sectors of durable goods manufacturing in fabricated metals, machinery and automobiles generated a little over 200 thousand new jobs. Wisconsin was able to ride the wave of national increase by picking up 11 thousand durable goods manufacturing jobs with 9 thousand of the jobs in fabricated metals and machinery. Other manufacturing in Wisconsin nudged upward but with barely a thousand new jobs.
Otherwise there is not much good news to report on Wisconsin jobs. Construction employment dropped 4 thousand jobs with declines across all three construction sub sectors: building construction, heavy and civil engineering including highway construction and specialty trade contractors. Wisconsin construction employment in 2011 dropped to 3.3 percent of statewide employment. Even though construction employment is down in the national economy construction has 4.2 percent of national establishment jobs.
Private sector services did a little better with a net increase of 10.6 thousand jobs, but 6.9 thousand of the new jobs were in employment services and from temporary help services. Government employment was down 6.8 thousand with 2.2 thousand of the lost jobs in the public elementary and secondary schools.
The loss of government jobs pulled the annual growth rate in service employment down to .17 percent compared to 1.08 percent in the national economy. Private sector service jobs that exclude government losses did a little better at .6 percent a year but that was a third of the national growth rate in this category, which was 1.79 percent.
Lost service jobs in Wisconsin for 2011 covered a broad spectrum of industries in transportation, utilities, information services that include publishing, broadcasting, phone and Internet, along with losses in financial services in banking, credit, real estate, arts-entertainment-recreation, accommodations, restaurants, personal services like salons and laundries, and non-profit membership associations. Restaurants?
The total of losses in the private service sectors was a modest 6.8 thousand for the year, but Governor Walker promised more jobs, not less. Even though employment services including temporary help services added 6.9 thousand jobs, these jobs are part of a larger sub sector called administrative support services that includes services like telemarketing, security services, credit bureaus, janitorial and landscaping services and a few more. After excluding jobs from employment services and temporary help services the remaining support services lost jobs in 2011.
Wisconsin service sectors with more jobs had token gains and generally at growth rates well below the national average. For example, wholesale and retail trade added 2.4 thousand jobs in 2011, but that was a growth rate of .58 percent a year compared to 1.40 percent in the national economy. Health care employment inched up 3 thousand jobs, but here again the Wisconsin increase represents a growth rate of .83 percent when the national economy did much better at 1.63 percent.
Professional services like the law, accounting, computer design continues to be a smaller share of Wisconsin jobs than the national economy: 3.3 percent for Wisconsin, almost 5.9 percent nationally. Wisconsin added 1.6 thousand professional jobs in 2011 at an annual growth rate of 1.75 percent a year, but the same jobs were increasing at 3.36 percent a year in the national economy.
One other Wisconsin service sector picked up 3 thousand jobs, which came in a service sector called management-of-companies. This sector results from the use of establishments to report job data because a firm may have many establishments at different locations where some establishments within the firm might be just head offices or administrative offices. Unfortunately the management sub sector is a small sector even though the increase here is a little above the national growth rate.
Based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics data cited above, the private sector job performance equals failure on the governor’s private sector pledge to create jobs. Job gains in manufacturing give optimists a reason to feel better than last year, but Wisconsin depends on manufacturing for 16 percent of its jobs, which makes it vulnerable to changes in the national recovery. The poor performance in construction and private sector services does not suggest Wisconsin manufacturing will be able to pull the rest of the economy along.
Remove the 6.9 thousand new jobs from employment services and the 6.8 thousand jobs lost from government service and the net private service sector increase comes to 3.7 thousand jobs for all of 2011. If Wisconsin private service sector job growth equaled the national average, Wisconsin would have had 20.5 thousand more private sector service jobs in addition to the manufacturing gains.
Being somewhat acquainted with the vitriol and class divisions in Wisconsin politics I wonder if there are more than a few voters hoping jobs will decline. Those people will vote for Governor Walker, but the Wisconsin voters who work should remember that neighboring Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan all did significantly better than Wisconsin on jobs in 2011.