Friday, November 18, 2011

Wisconsin's October job numbers -- Walker reforms still not working

Job growth and employment dismal since start of Gov. Walker's term in office

The Wisconsin jobs report for October has been released, and unfortunately the news is not so good. 9,700 jobs were lost last month, most of them within the private sector.

The updated numbers for September show that Wisconsin had a total of 2,757,200 jobs in the state. But from September to October, nearly 10,000 jobs were lost, dropping the state totals down to 2,747,500 (PDF).

Compare that to the beginning of the year, when in January Wisconsin had approximately 2,744,000 jobs. From that time on, we've seen a great fluctuating number of jobs in the state, swelling to a high of about 2,775,100 this past June. But since that time, Wisconsin's job numbers have dropped as much as they've gained -- the net total from January to October is only a gain of 3,500 jobs.

To reach Gov. Scott Walker's goal of 250,000 jobs created in his first term, it would take more than 71 years at the current rate we're going at, or 17 more terms than the one he promised it would require.

That's the total number of jobs created -- but how about the total number of employed in the state? Wisconsin did a little bit better here, growing the number of employed by 3,400 (from the revised number of 2,819,200 employed in September to 2,822,600 in October). But the net total from January to October is still marginal, a measly gain of 3,299 more individuals employed today than were at the beginning of this year.

Compare those numbers to the last year of Walker's predecessor, Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle's, term. From January 2010 to October 2010, Wisconsin saw a growth of about 17,900 jobs, and a growth of employment by 12,919 individuals. That's more than 5 and nearly 4 times greater than Walker's respective numbers during the same time period.

Defenders of Walker will contend that these job numbers reflect what's happening on the national stage overall, that the governor cannot be held accountable for outside pressures that affect his state's job numbers. Yet, when we look at the national picture, we see growth, not decline, for the nation last month.

The fact is, Walker's less-than-even-adequate job performance is his to own -- not Obama's, nor Congress's, nor the debt ceiling's, nor anyone else's. His failure to provide any decent jobs initiatives (during two "special sessions" even!) provides ample evidence of why he is a failure to this state within the realm of job creation.

Tax breaks and tort reforms for corporations won't solve Wisconsin's job woes -- only true demand, from people purchasing products or services, can create the need for work. Walker's ideas are lousy, and Wisconsin is suffering for them.

(Most job numbers from this post came from and the Department of Workforce Development)

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