A Tale of Two States

Wisconsin may have better football teams than Minnesota, but the Badger State is eating our dust when it comes to the economy.

Minnesota Public Radio’s Paul Tosto posted a blog on Monday that looked at some key economic data from the two states and concluded Minnesota did a much better job than Wisconsin of keeping people employed during the recession and putting them back to work in the recovery.

Tosto offers as Exhibit A the monthly coincident index produced by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. The index combines employment, average hours worked in manufacturing, the unemployment rate and wages adjusted for inflation into a single statistic.

Back in 2007, the two states were relatively even in that index. But Minnesota began pulling away from Wisconsin in mid-2008 and is now solidly outperforming the state as well as the rest of the country. In its forecast of where that index is headed in the next six months, the Philadelphia Reserve Bank projects modest growth for Minnesota. And Wisconsin? It is one of only five states expected to decline.

The two states used to be neck in neck when it came to economic competition, but the gap between Minnesota and Wisconsin has never been wider than it is today, Tosto writes.

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