Monday, August 10, 2015

On Wisconsin, says Noah Williams, happy days are here again

One of Menzie Chinn's colleagues at UW-Madison provides a little light on the actual state of the Wisconsin economy under the administration of Governor Scott Walker;
Recently there have been several stories in the press ... that provide a misleading picture of the economy in the state of Wisconsin.
That there have been, as well as a plethora of blog posts, and not just recently, attempting the same thing. All attempting to hide what Professor Williams shows in the two graphs above. That Wisconsin actually is outperforming the national economy in a number of metrics. I.e. Wisconsin's unemployment rate (4.6%) is lower today, and its labor force participation rate higher than in Barack Obama's America.

 If the labor force participation rate in the U.S. as a whole (63%) was as high as it is in Wisconsin (68%)  the nation's unemployment rate would actually be about 7.0%. It's only as low as it is today (5.5%) in America thanks to discouraged workers dropping out of the work force, thus not being counted as unemployed.

Another cute trick Williams exposes is for politically motivated statisticians to use non-farm work force numbers in their analysis. That conveniently ignores that Wisconsin--America's Dairyland--has a robust agricultural sector. Cheeseheads, indeed.

And, Wisconsin's households have been enjoying higher income growth than the nation as a whole too. If you know how to measure it properly. Or, if you want to measure it properly.

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