We are nine weeks past the filing by 96% of Wisconsin employers of their jobs data for unemployment insurance (UI) purposes, so why don’t we have those hard census numbers?
The second quarter ended June 30, and businesses have 30 days to file their quarter-end UI reports. Businesses with the acts together close their books four to five working days after month-end, and there’s hell to pay if the accounting departments don’t get it done. Why can’t our state government add up the numbers for hard jobs numbers in a couuple of weeks?
The citizens/taxpayers get some mumbo-jumbo that the feds have to pray over the numbers before they are released, but Gov. Walker has already showed he is willing to short-circuit that bureaucratic impasse by moving the jobs reporting up by one quarter. It used to be even more moldy.
We’ll get the drop-down for the states from the federal survey numbers for August in a week or so, but no one really trusts those break-downs any more. There’s even suspicion that politics could come into play as an Administration of one party at the fdederal level lays out the numbers for a state with a governor of the opposite party.
And it’s not like the jobs numbers aren’t important. They are the central statistic in the race for president of the United States. The election and lots of public policy depend on having the right numbers.
Further, the UI census numbers could easily be broken down to give the firstr really accurate reports by cities, metropolitan areas and industrial sectors.
Still further, the UI reports could be expanded a little (they are now very simple to fill out) tyo ask employers how many openings they have and in what category. Those unfilled jobs totals would be enormously helpful to policy makers, such as those running our training and educational operations. How many nurses do we really need? IT workers? Machinists?
Still further, columns could be added to ask employers what openings they see six months, a year, two, three years down the road. Now we would have real forecasts for employment demand.
Best of all, it would end the endless thumb sucking and conjecture over the accuracy of the numbers by pundits, politicians and economists.
The Department of Workforce Development can get this done. Even if it costs a little more, it would be worth it.