Category Archives: Jobs and the Economy

Time to give workers a choice

Posted in Jobs and the Economy, Wisconsin News on by .

Guest Column by Lorri Pickens

On Monday, I was pleased to announce the launch of Wisconsin Right to Work (WRTW), a grassroots organization dedicated to advancing freedom in the workplace. I will serve as its first Executive Director. Our primary goal is to ensure that all individuals, whether or not they choose to join a union, have the same benefits, rights and protections.

A Wisconsin-based organization, WRTW has no national affiliations and will advocate for Right to Work reforms through citizen engagement.  We believe now is the time to engage our citizens in a meaningful dialogue with opinion leaders and policy makers.

Wisconsin’s public employees’ strong desire for their right to choose is evidenced by the sharp decline in enrollment in teacher unions following the passage of the ACT 10 collective bargaining reforms. Wisconsin Right to Work believes private sector workers should have the same right to choose.

The benefits of giving all Wisconsin workers the freedom of choice extends beyond the freedom itself. Right to Work states enjoy faster job growth, lower unemployment rates and higher per capita income than non-Right to Work States.

Simply put, our economic future depends on workforce and labor reforms. As Wisconsin residents age out of the workforce, Wisconsin employers will rely, in part, on a young and educated pool of professionals. Yet between 2008 and 2012, Wisconsin lost on average 14,000 college graduates, while Right to Work states saw an increase of 11.3 percent in workers aged 25-34 over an eight year period.

Please visit our website at, or like us on Facebook  and help spread the word.  For more information, contact Lorri Pickens at

Selective Reporting

Posted in Jobs and the Economy on by .

job..Where reporting of employment statistics is concerned, two principles are pretty well established among Wisconsin’s mainstream media: First, Governor Walker must be punished severely for announcing his intention to see a quarter-million new jobs created during his first term in office.  Second, the waning rate of job creation nationwide must always be treated as a surprise no matter how long it persists, and the President’s name shall not be connected with it in any way.

Not that you need convincing, but the Appleton Post-Crescent, regarded by some as Wisconsin’s stupidest daily newspaper, provided a nice illustration in two installments over the past week.  First came an editorial disparaging Wisconsin’s addition of roughly 84,000 new jobs in the midst of a national “recovery,” even though it’s being experienced by many as a continuing recession, and insisting that Walker be held accountable.

Then, five days later, a recycled USA Today story about the “disappointing” federal report showing only 169,000 new jobs nationwide in August.

That dismal number was, in fact, an improvement on the 148,000 three-month average. Even so, the national unemployment rate fell from 7.4 percent to 7.3 solely because 312,000 Americans gave up on searching for employment.  Almost twice as many as those who found a job quit looking for one.

The same day, the Post-Crescent served up an Associated Press story reporting the dismal national employment picture and possibly spinning it toward the bright side by referring to it as a “lukewarm job market.”

Curiously, nowhere in either story could we find any reference to the name of the elected official overseeing this pathetic performance.

Oh, and so far there’s been no editorial about holding anyone accountable. The template is firmly in place.

State Leading Indexes

Posted in Jobs and the Economy on by .

Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia produces leading indexes for each of the 50 states. The indexes are calculated monthly and are usually released a week after the release of the coincident indexes. The Bank issues a release each month describing the current and future economic situation of the 50 states with special coverage of the Third District: Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware.

The leading index for each state predicts the six-month growth rate of the state’s coincident index. In addition to the coincident index, the models include other variables that lead the economy: state-level housing permits (1 to 4 units), state initial unemployment insurance claims, delivery times from the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) manufacturing survey, and the interest rate spread between the 10-year Treasury bond and the 3-month Treasury bill.

A time-series model (vector autoregression) is used to construct the leading index. Current and prior values of the forecast variables are used to determine the future values of the index.

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