Monday, March 18, 2013

Recalls, "uncertainty" didn't hinder Wisconsin job numbers

Gov. Walker's excuses for slower job growth carry little merit

Revised jobs numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that growth in Wisconsin has been dismal, demonstrating that Gov. Scott Walker’s record on job creation is mediocre at best and lackluster at worst.

When lined up against the rest of the states in our region, there is no comparison: the annual rate of change in job growth in Wisconsin barely squeaks past 0.8 percent per year since 2011, while states surrounding Wisconsin all have rates between 1.1 and 1.8 percent.

States whom Walker has been openly critical of have also done noticeably better than Wisconsin -- both Minnesota and Illinois have higher rates as well as higher numbers of jobs created during the same time period as our governor’s first term.

Minnesota ranks 10th overall nationally in job growth since 2011, and Illinois ranks 30th. Wisconsin, on the other hand, remains in the bottom ten, ranking 44th in job growth over the past two years.

Beyond these observations, the excuses that Gov. Walker has offered up for Wisconsin’s poor performance seem to have fallen flat on their face. Walker had previously blamed everything he could for the state’s lagging numbers, from European economies to Obamacare to Capitol protestors to the various recalls we witnessed (both within the legislative and executive branches).

But the numbers show that, during the time period that Walker blamed his dismal record on, job growth was actually at its strongest in the state, suggesting that the recalls and the protests didn’t have such a negative effect after all.

From the time that the protests began (February 2011) to the month of Gov. Walker’s own recall (June 2012), Wisconsin saw a growth of 38,400 jobs in the state. That amounts to about 2,258.8 jobs per month.

Contrast that with the rate following the recall. In the seven months since Walker won the right to carry out his term in office, the state has gained an additional 3,800 jobs -- or just above 542 jobs per month.

That means that, since the recalls ended, Wisconsin’s rate of job growth has been reduced by more than 75 percent of what it was during the so-called “uncertain” times.

The numbers show the opposite of what the governor has claimed -- and while it’d be wrong to say the protests and recalls helped job growth, certainly they didn’t hinder it, and definitely not to the extent that Gov. Walker has tried to explain previously.

The facts cannot be disputed: job growth was never affected by “tumultuous” or “uncertain” times due to protests or the recalls. And supposed “reforms” by Walker, including reducing take-home pay of state workers through Act 10 and tax giveaways to wealthy corporate interests, have failed or even stymied job creation in the state.


  1. And yet the right and much of the actively ignorant middle will vote for him again.