Faulty Data Driving the Manufacturing “Recession” in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin

Research Report: December 5, 2019

By: Noah Williams, Center for Research on the Wisconsin Economy


Nationwide there has been a slowdown in manufacturing employment in 2019, and the decline seemed to be especially strong in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Since these manufacturing-heavy states are both politically sensitive, this slowdown has attracted significant attention. I show that most of this slowdown results from preliminary data which has proved inaccurate. At least through June (the last date that accurate data are available), manufacturing employment growth slowed but neither state experienced the sharp downturns apparent in the preliminary data. Through June, using more accurate data results in an estimate of an additional 11,000 manufacturing jobs in Pennsylvania and an additional 8,700 manufacturing jobs in Wisconsin.

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Media Coverage:

Milwaukee Business News

New York Times