Wisconsin Employment in August

Statistics released by Wisconsin DWD show nonfarm payroll employment growing in line with US, but — like at the national level — at a decelerating pace.

Figure 1: Nonfarm payroll employment in Wisconsin, August release (brown), Economic Outlook forecast of June (teal), author’s forecast based on July release of state and August release of national employment (brown box), in 000’s, s.a. Source: BLS, DWD, Wisconsin Economic Outlook (June 2020), and author’s calculations.

I used a first-log-differences specification between Wisconsin and national employment over the 2019-2020M07 period to forecast August employment. For August, the forecast error was 5541 (underpredicted by 0.2%). For July, the forecast error was -9547 (overpredicted by 0.35%), with the methodology discussed in this post.

Manufacturing employment continued to grow as well, although at a decelerating pace.

Figure 2: Manufacturing employment in US (blue), Wisconsin (brown), s.a., in logs 2020M02=0. Source: BLS, DWD,and author’s calculations.

The unemployment rate in Wisconsin continued to fall; as discussed here, even in normal times, you have to take these figures with some caution, given the measurement error.

Figure 3: Unemployment rate for US (blue), for Wisconsin (brown), in percentage points. Source: BLS, DWD. 

The US unemployment rate is about 0.9 percentage points higher than Wisconsin’s on average (1990-2019), so Wisconsin is doing a bit better than the nation. Some of this is probably due to the manufacturing intensity of the state (fewer service jobs to be lost). Hard to say whether this is statistically significant, given measurement error.