Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Latest job numbers show slower growth in first quarter for Wisconsin

Walker administration tries to spin the numbers, but can't hide behind what's in plain sight

The Department of Workforce Development released its latest numbers on jobs in the state, using the frequently-touted quarterly census of employment that the Gov. Walker administration favors.

But even though the numbers came from the survey Walker likes best, the numbers do little to inspire confidence in his performance as a job creator.

From March 2012 to March 2013, Wisconsin gained a dismal 24,124 private sector jobs. That amounts to just a little over 2,000 per month, far short of what Walker needs to get on average in order to reach his pledge of 250,000 jobs in his first term.

To put it in perspective: in 2011, Wisconsin’s first quarter had a yearly gain (from March 2010 to March 2011) of 41,350 private sector jobs. The following year, the March 2011 to March 2012 growth was 39,757 jobs.

From that 2011 figure to the preliminary numbers released by the Walker administration last week, job growth has slowed by nearly 40 percent. In other words, for every five jobs created in the March 2010-11 timeframe, Walker could only create three jobs during the March 2012-13 period.

The numbers are important to view for another reason: the first two years mentioned above, though occurring while Walker was in office, aren’t years where Walker’s initiatives were the sole factors on job creation. Indeed, with the March 2010-11 timeframe, Gov. Jim Doyle’s budget was the only one “in play” during that time. The March 2011-12 job gains also occurred under a portion Doyle’s last budget.

So when we look at these numbers, it’s important to point out that the lowest March-to-March yearly gain occurred during a year where ONLY Gov. Walker’s budget was in power. The other two years, with significantly more job growth, had involved part of Doyle’s budget in some way.

Despite these dismal numbers, DWD Secretary Reggie Newson still tried to paint a better picture than what people could clearly see in front of them:
”With actual job counts showing Wisconsin added over 62,000 private sector jobs in 2011-12 following the loss of 134,000 private sector jobs during the previous four years, early numbers for 2013 show the momentum of job gains is continuing, which is great news for working families,” Secretary Newson said.
That “loss of 134,000 jobs” was not the fault of any policy of Walker’s predecessor, but rather the result of a global economic recession -- a fact the administration rarely, if ever, makes mention of as a contributing factor for the exodus of jobs in the state.

While the administration may try to spin these and other numbers as positively as they can, the media are starting to take note of what should have been known all along: Walker’s record on jobs is lackluster.

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