Economic Analysis Jan 2021 – Jun 2021


CROWE Events and Outreach Jan 2021-Jun 2021

Date Event Speaker(s) Presentation Title/Topic Presentation materials and Links
June 29 The UW Now Livestream and Q & A
Kim Ruhl, CROWE Associate Director
moderated by Mike Knetter
Supply Chains, Labor and Inflation View Dr. Ruhl's slides
May 11 The UW Now Livestream and Q & A
moderated by Mike Knetter
The Future of the UW System View Prof Seshadri's slides
April 13 The UW Now Livestream and Q & A
Kim Ruhl, CROWE Associate Director
moderated by Mike Knetter
Economic Stimulus and the Impact on our Future Watch video View Dr. Ruhl's slides
March 31 Senate Committee on Universities and Technical Colleges Prof Ananth Seshadri Testimony Watch video
March 5 WisBusiness: The Podcast
Noah Williams, CROWE Director
March 2 The UW Now Livestream and Q & A
Kim Ruhl, CROWE Associate Director
Craig Culver
Caitlin Suemnicht
moderated by Mike Knetter
Restaurants Today and in the Future Watch video View Dr. Ruhl's slides
Jan 26 The UW Now Livestream and Q & A
Noah Williams, CROWE Director
moderated by Mike Knetter
Outlook for the U.S. Labor Market Watch video Summary
Jan 11 Thompson Center
Junjie Guo, CROWE Staff Economist
Jobs, Skills and the Prison-To-Work Transition Watch video Read the Report
Jan 4 American Economic Association’s ASSA 2021 Virtual Annual Meeting.
Noah Williams, CROWE Director
Consumer Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic View slides

In the Media

June 30: Prof Williams discusses worker shortages in the state on Janesville Radio: Listen here
June 29: Prof Williams on 715newsroom:  WI looks to the future of workforce
June 28: The Center Square analyses Prof Williams’ data brief : Analysis: Wisconsin’s labor troubles likely to continue
June 27: Prof Williams featured on UpfrontWIS : Watch video
June 23: CROWE report cited in WPR : GOP Lawmakers Want Answers On Unemployment Fraud In Wisconsin
June 3: Prof Williams’ work cited in Daily Local News, Pennsylvania Most Chester County restaurants now fully open

May 18: Prof Williams writes about unemployment insurance in City Journal Fixing Unemployment Insurance
May 17:  Prof Williams quoted on NBC15 50 Chambers of Commerce ask Wisconsin to end federal unemployment benefit
May 13: Prof Williams discusses recent CROWE report on Wisconsin Public Radio: Should Unemployment Benefit Processing Be Outsourced?
May 12: Prof Williams on NBC26 Green Bay : How inflation is affecting Wisconsinites
May 12: Story on Prof Williams’ recent CROWE report in Wisconsin Spotlight: DWD Failing the Unemployed, Taxpayers
May 12: Story on Prof Williams’ recent CROWE report in Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Report says state should outsource unemployment services after pandemic failures
May 11: Prof Williams’ report on 715newsroom : WI’s unemployment job performance falls short
May 11: Prof Williams on WMTV’s report on unemployment benefits: Watch video
May 11: Prof Williams’ recent CROWE report featured in CROWE report says only 3 out of 10 people got UI checks
May 10: Prof Williams’ recent CROWE report featured in The Center Square:  Report: Wisconsin unable to handle coronavirus unemployment crush
May 8: Prof Williams cited in  People who lost jobs in pandemic are earning more in benefits than in salaries, will it drive up inflation?
May 7: Prof Williams writes about the jobs report in National Review’s Capital Matters: Jobs Report Shows Incentives Still Matter

April 20: Prof Williams gives us a closer look at the labor market in a story in NBC26 Green Bay:  The Abbey places sign up to lure workers as they struggle to hire
April 9: Story in The DailyWire quotes Professor Williams’ tweet: Biden’s Chief Economic Advisor Won’t Counter Biden’s False Claim Of 19 Million Jobs From Bill

March 8: CROWE Economist Simeon Alder’s report cited in Forbes: Home Businesses Poised To Boom If Government Gets Out Of The Way
March 8: WisBusiness: Wisconsin State Journal quotes Professor Noah Williams Read it here
March 5: Prof Noah Williams featured on WisBusiness Podcast:  Listen to the podcast Read it here
March 4: Prof Williams on WKOW: UW-Madison seniors struggle to secure jobs
March 1: Prof Williams discusses budget tax proposals with The Badger Herald: Gov. Tony Evers’ budget allows 0.5% increase in sales tax, addresses concerns from municipalities

Feb 28: Forbes quotes Prof Williams: Three Rust Belt Governors Seek More Taxes, Less School Choice
Feb 22: Prof Williams discusses budget tax proposals with WisBusiness: Evers’ budget tax proposals total a $1 billion increase
Feb 19: Kurt Bauer, president & CEO of Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce cites CROWE report in Milwaukee Business Journal: Sales tax increase would slow economic recovery ( Also here)
Feb 15: Sheboygan Press quotes Prof Williams: Despite the pandemic, Sheboygan County still saw an increase in sales tax revenue in 2020. Here’s why
Feb 11: Article by Prof Noah Williams in City Journal: Their Cups Runneth Over
Feb 8: Green Bay Press Gazette quotes Prof Williams Sales tax increased $1 million despite a pandemic (Link to the PDF Version)
Feb 3: Prof Williams discusses economic issues on Talk Radio, Janesville: Do you think minimum wage should be raised? If so, to what amount?

Jan 27: CROWE Director Prof Noah Williams spoke about the minimum wage on WMTV NBC15: How beneficial would a $15 minimum wage be for Wisconsinites? Watch video

CROWE Data Briefs: Quick look

June 25, 2021

Labor Markets in the US and Wisconsin: Current State and Long-run Trends

I survey the current state of labor markets in the United States and the state of Wisconsin. In recent weeks the labor market has become a primary focus of economic and policy discussions, with job openings soaring to record levels while employment gains have slowed. Overall, the labor market in Wisconsin is currently tighter than nationwide, with the state having seen larger drop in unemployment and a larger increase in job openings in recent months. Moreover, the data suggests that labor supply issues have held back employment gains, whether from elevated unemployment insurance benefits, increased childcare duties with disrupted schooling, or continuing heath concerns.

While most of the factors causing the acute labor supply disruptions will lessen by the fall, long-term trends suggest reduced labor supply well into the future. All of these trends are stronger in Wisconsin than the nation overall. The state has seen a stagnant labor force for more than a decade. Labor force participation rates have been trending down for decades, driven largely by the aging of the population. Moreover births have fallen sharply in recent years and school enrollments have declined, suggesting smaller cohorts entering the labor market in years to come. While the “homegrown” labor force is set to shrink in coming years, migration is not likely to add many workers either. In recent years Wisconsin has seen small net domestic outflows to other states and small net positive total inflows due to international immigration. This suggests that, barring major changes in state or federal policy, drawing in new workers is unlikely to be a significant source of labor force growth for the state in the near future.

In sum, while there is much current discussion of a “labor shortage” due to acute short-term problems, in the long term the state is likely to face a declining labor force for years to come, which may have more dramatic implications.

Read the full data brief

Media Coverage:
The Center Square

The labor force in Wisconsin has been roughly unchanged for more than a decade. Figure: Civilian labor force in the United States and Wisconsin since 2007. Indexed so February 2020 = 100.
Births in the state have fallen by 17% since 2007. Figure: Births in the state of Wisconsin.

March 19, 2021

The Distribution of Income and Income Taxes in Wisconsin 

The Wisconsin Department of Revenue has recently released some summary statistics from Wisconsin state income tax returns, covering the years 2014-2019. These data provide insight on the distribution of income and income taxes in the state. In particular, I find that:
1. Reported incomes in Wisconsin have grown across the income distribution from 2014-2019, but the increases have been largest at the low end of the distribution.
2. The state’s income tax is progressive, with a large share of taxes paid by the highest income groups. The degree of progressivity has remained relatively constant since 2014.

Read the full Data Brief

Real growth at different percentiles of the distribution of reported income from Wisconsin state tax returns
Cumulative distribution of income and income taxes in Wisconsin, 2019

Feb 12, 2021

State and Local Government Revenue During the COVID-19 Pandemic

While the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic put stress on the budgets of state and local governments around the country, their tax revenues have since rebounded. In addition, the federal government has already allocated substantial aid to these governments, which has more than offset the losses they have suffered. In particular, after nationwide state and local tax revenue fell by over 17% from the first to the second quarter of 2020, it bounced back strongly in the second half of the year and ended 2020 up 1.3% over 2019 – roughly constant in real terms. In addition, during 2020 the federal government sent $280 billion in transfers to these governments, and has already allocated an additional $120 billion in aid. These federal transfers led to growth of 8.9% in real revenue for state and local governments. In this brief, I document the recovery in state and local government total revenues and tax revenue, as well the distribution of revenue growth across states and discuss other sources of state fiscal support.

Read the Full Data Brief

Note: The material in this brief formed the basis for the City Journal article, “Their Cups Runneth Over

State and local government revenue: total current receipts (blue line) and current tax receipts (red line). The data are 4 quarter averages, indexed so 2020:Q1=100. (Source: BEA and author’s projection.)
Distribution of state tax revenue growth rates, 2020:Q1-Q3 over 2019:Q1-Q3. (Source: Census Bureau.)

Updated Feb 5, 2021 (first posted: July 24, 2020)

Wisconsin’s labor market and COVID-19

This brief reports labor-market indicators for Wisconsin to demonstrate the effects of COVID-19 on labor supply and demand. This report is part of a larger effort at CROWE to document and analyze the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the Full Data Brief

Unemployment rates in Wisconsin. Kim Ruhl, Feb 5, 2021.
Measures of job loss. Kim Ruhl, Feb 5, 2021.