Monday, March 26, 2012

February job numbers show improvement, but is it Walker's doing?

Effects of governor's "reforms" aren't responsible for job growth this year

The job numbers from February (and revised numbers for January) were released last week (PDF), showing a two-month growth in numbers thus far this year. Unfortunately, those numbers still fail to help the state recover from the disastrous "reforms" Gov. Scott Walker put in place last year.

With the revised January numbers and the preliminary February numbers from this year, Walker remains more than 8,000 jobs short of the number he inherited when he took office a year ago.

In December 2010, Wisconsin had more than 2,740,800 jobs across the state. As of February 2012, that number is 2,733,300.

Recall that Walker promised to create 250,000 jobs by the end of his first term. Since the start of his tenure, we aren't just going at a snail's pace -- when looking at the overall picture, we're going backwards.

While improvements should be celebrated wherever they occur, there's no indication of any kind that these job numbers were due to any initiative Gov. Walker or Republican legislators put forth.

When you consider the fact that tax breaks for corporations cannot create their jobs without demand, or that a drop in purchasing power (due Act 10) likely resulted in tens of thousands of jobs lost, Walker cannot reasonably claim credit for either of these months' gains. In all likelihood, these gains are the result of gains seen across the nation.

Indeed, even as a recent Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia's economic outlook report shows that Wisconsin is projected to have a growing economy in the next six months, that growth won't matter much when you consider population growth, and still leaves Wisconsin trailing behind the rest of the Midwest and much of the country.

Even Illinois, a state Walker constantly derides as "doing it wrong," is projected to do much better than Wisconsin in the next six months, and has had more consistent job growth than our state during the same time period from when Walker assumed office.

So while the gains Wisconsin has seen since the start of the year are somewhat promising, there's nothing within the data presented that vindicates anything Scott Walker has done. Things are getting better, but Walker's vision for the state is still "not working."

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