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Minnesota’s Economy vs. Wisconsin’s

Paul Tosto with MPR News did a post on NewsCut January 26, 2015, showing how Minnesota’s economy outperforms Wisconsin’s that included 7 charts and 1 table titled, appropriately, “Minnesota economy beats Wisconsin:  7 charts, 1 table.”

In this post, Mr. Tosto points out that our state does much better economically than our neighbor to the east. In addition, he says that this hasn’t change in 4 years. That’s a pretty long time. Before going into the charts, he states:

“This is, in fact, the four-year anniversary of my first post on the matter. To commemorate, we’ll  look at sever charts and one table that say, collectively:  Goodbye, Wisconsin.”

Coincident Economic Activity

fredgraph.coincident-630x418An “apples-to-apples economic comparison created by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia” combining “four indicators (nonfarm, payroll employment, average hours worked in manufacturing, the unemployment rate and inflation-adjusted wages) into a single statistic.”

For years, our states performed in a similar manner on this index. Then, Minnesota began performing better.

fredgraph.coincident.close_-630x418During the Great Recession, our state performed in a stronger manner.

This is pretty strong data. Mr. Tosto goes on to look at the why behind this difference.



Health, education jobs

fredgraph.health-630x394While it isn’t the complete reason Minnesota is performing more strongly, our health care industry is stronger and “continues to drive Minnesota’s post-recession success.”  He goes on to state, “Hard to believe that 10 years ago Minnesota and Wisconsin had nearly an equal number of health and education jobs.”  By November, 2014, Minnesota outpaced Wisconsin by 74,000.

Unemployment rate

fred.mnwiunemploymentWhile this is a statistic that has “issues”, according to Mr. Tosto “it is widely followed and it serves as another reminder of how Minnesota has recovered and Wisconsin has not.

As you look at this chart, you can see that as of October, 2007, both states had comparable unemployment rates.

Minnesota catching up to Wisconsin in total jobs

fred.totalprivateMinnesota has fewer people that Wisconsin. So, you’d assume Wisconsin would have more jobs than our state. But, that’s changing (and, Mr. Tosto points out that’s not because Minnesota is adding more government jobs).

“At the start of the recession, Wisconsin had about 108,000 more private sector jobs than Minnesota. Minnesota has closed that gap dramatically in the recovery. It’s about 42,000 as of November (2014) and was as low as 31,00 in September (2014).”

“It will not be surprising to see Minnesota eclipse Wisconsin in a few years. As the graph above shows, Minnesota recovered its pre-recession private sector jobs nearly two years ago. Wisconsin recovered two months ago.”

GDP muscle

fred.gdp_Minnesota’s gross domestic product is also outperforming Wisconsin’s. Our real GDP was $17.4 billion more than Wisconsin in 2008. By the end of 2013, we’d widened that gap to $25 billion.




fred.totalwagesLet’s look at the chart for total wages and salaries by state.






mnwi.graphic2The table in this article is include here, too. It shows up the job breakdown by state as of October, 2014. It shows that “essentially, Minnesota has an advantage over Wisconsin in key growth sectors — education, health services and professional and business services.”

You can  read the full article here.

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