Wisconsin Employment in December

DWD released December figures today.

 

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

  • The establishment survey indicates Wisconsin NFP is growing more rapidly than the Nation’s in the last two months, but over the three month change is pretty much the same (Figure 1).
  • Civilian employment from the household survey (which includes self-employment and agriculture, but is less accurately measured) is above pre-pandemic levels.
  • Manufacturing and high contact services employment are both hitting July 2021 Department of Revenue (DoR) forecasts.
  • Leisure and hospitality in Wisconsin underpaces nation (Figure 3).

First, overall trends:

Figure 1: Wisconsin nonfarm payroll employment from December release (black), forecast from November 2021 Economic Outlook (black +), civilian employment (brown), forecast from November 2021 Economic Outlook (brown +), all  s.a., both normalized to 2020M02=0. NBER defined recession dates peak-to-trough shaded gray. Source: BLS, DWD, and author’s calculations.

From the establishment survey, total nonfarm and private, both under DoR’s November forecast (which should not be surprising, given the December downside surprise in the national employment level).

Figure 2: Wisconsin nonfarm payroll employment from December release (black), forecast from November 2021 Economic Outlook (black +), private nonfarm payroll employment (teal), forecast from November 2021 Economic Outlook (teal +), all  s.a. NBER defined recession dates peak-to-trough shaded gray. Source: BLS, DWD, and author’s calculations.

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

Figure 3: Wisconsin manufacturing employment  (blue, left log scale), forecast from November 2021 Economic Outlook (blue +), leisure and hospitality services employment (pink, right scale), and forecast from November 2021 Economic Outlook (pink +), all in 000’s, seasonally adjusted. NBER defined recession dates peak-to-trough shaded gray. Source: BLS, DWD, NBER and Wisconsin Department of Revenue.

Manufacturing employment growth is exceeding that in the nation overall +1% versus 0.2% m/m), while leisure and hospitality services employment fell, in contrast to the nationwide change: -0.7% versus +0.3% m/m. (Important to recall that all these December figures are preliminary, and will be revised in the next release; also these employment figures pertain to roughly the second week of December).

The Baumeister et al. Weekly Economic Conditions Indicator indicates continued expansion through 12/31, but continuously decelerating since the week of  July 24th.

It’s interesting that hospitality and leisure fell — as did subcategory accommodation and food services by 1.1% — even before the surge in cases in late December. This suggests to me a hit to this category coming again in the January release.

Google mobility indicators show depressed activity relative to baseline, for retail/recreation, transit, and workplaces.

Source: Google, accessed 1/20/2022.

Source: Google, accessed 1/20/2022.