Apples to Apples

It has been widely reported that Wisconsin lost 9,700 nonfarm jobs and ranked 43rd among states in employment growth in October. That compares to Minnesota (-6,100 jobs), Michigan (+2,000), Illinois (+30,000), and Iowa (+2,300) during the same period.

However, that is based on comparing October job numbers to September employment. While it provides a useful gauge of the State’s progress, it is somewhat like comparing October weather to September and concluding that, October was colder. Perhaps a better measure is to compare October 2011 employment to the previous October.

Question: How many jobs did Wisconsin gain/lose year-over-year when comparing October 2011 nonfarm employment to October 2010?

A. – 11,300
B. -1,201
C. +3,101
D. +6,900

D. +6,900

Wisconsin gained 6,900 jobs (0.2 percent) between October 2010 and October 2011. That compares to Minnesota (+19,000), Michigan (+48,900), Illinois (+60,500), and Iowa (+13,200).