The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

For the fourth month, Wisconsin loses jobs

Wisconsin posted its fourth consecutive month with job losses in October, as the Department of Workforce Development estimates a total of 9,700 non-farm jobs disappeared from the state last month.

Marquette Department of Economics chair Abdur Chowdhury said the trend is especially troubling because on a national level, the nation has posted four straight months of job gains.

“It is of concern that we are not creating jobs at a state level,” Chowdhury said in an email. “With these types of loss we will not see growth in the state economy.”

Of the lost jobs in Wisconsin, 9,300 were in the private sector and 5,700 of those were lost in goods-producing industries, including manufacturing and construction. This is an alarming trend, Chowdhury said.

“With regards to manufacturing, it is a little bit interesting to see the loss because, nationally, manufacturing is driving the recovery,” Chowdhury said.

Regionally, manufacturing has remained relatively strong according to numbers released Monday by the Chicago Federal Reserve.

Joseph Daniels, Marquette professor of economics, said the index number shows that recently manufacturing has been doing well in the Chicago Fed region relative to the nation, and Wisconsin’s seemingly isolated troubles are concerning. The Chicago Fed region covers Iowa, northern Illinois, southern Wisconsin, northern Indiana and the Michigan lower peninsula.

“It’s a sign for concern that manufacturing has ticked up but that employment (in Wisconsin manufacturing) has dropped off,” Daniels said.

In the Nov. 17 release announcing the losses, Department of Workforce Development Secretary Reggie Newson attributed the losses in Wisconsin to general struggles within the national economy.

“The decline in total jobs over the month reaffirms our exposure to challenges in the national and global economy,” Newson said in the release. “More than ever, we must continue to advance the Governor’s job-creation agenda and ensure jobseekers have the skills that are in demand by employers who are looking to locate or expand in Wisconsin.”

With regards to the estimated 9,700 total jobs lost in Wisconsin in October, Daniels said the loss is are not very big in the relation to the national economy.

“Though it may be painful to say, nine or ten thousand jobs is not a very big number in the grand scheme of things,” he said.

Daniels said Wisconsin still has a relatively low unemployment rate of 7.7 percent compared to the national average of 9.0 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Chowdhury had a slightly different outlook on the problem, saying job loss within the state has multiple trickle down effects, including a drain of college graduates leaving the state to find work elsewhere.

“As skilled labor leaves the state to seek work elsewhere, many business firms are saying they have openings, but the workforce isn’t matching the skill level they need,” he said.

While Chowdhury said he does not foresee the economy making a sharp turnaround anytime within the next year or two before the next elections, he said there are two clear barometers he would use to judge how the national economy is recovering.

First, Chowdhury said, the national economy will be showing signs of promising expansion when there is sustained national job growth of 150,000 each month. He said the October number was around 100,000 nationally, despite the loss in Wisconsin.

Secondly, he said when initial claims for unemployment insurance each week dip substantially below the current average of about 400,000 people each week, the economy will be on the path to recovery.

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