Thursday, September 26, 2013

Job woes continue to plague Scott Walker as WMC ads distort his record

Lacking contextual meaning, WMC ads conceal Walker's dismal job creation record

Recent advertisements in support of Gov. Scott Walker are trying to highlight new ratings made by the Philadelphia Federal Reserve.

According to the Philadelphia Fed, Wisconsin now ranks as second in the country in terms of potential economic growth.

On the surface, that ranking sounds like things are finally turning the corner in Wisconsin. After months and years of lagging, finally we’re at the top of the country in an economic ranking!

But the context of that ranking is significant. It doesn’t mean that Wisconsin is poised to be the next-to-best state in the country. Rather, it means Wisconsin has the second best chance of seeing positive growth in the next six months.

Part of that is due to some economic recovery. But a good portion of where that ranking is coming from is the fact that, since Wisconsin has faltered for so long, it has nowhere but upwards to move.

Case in point: the recent quarterly survey of jobs shows that Wisconsin is 34th in the nation in private sector job growth.

Indeed, job growth in the state has slowed significantly since Walker’s plans and initiatives have been implemented, as evidenced in the graph below:

The blue bar in the graph above shows private sector job growth from March 2010 to March 2011. During that period, Gov. Jim Doyle’s budget was in place for the entire time (even as Walker was governor for the last three months). Total job growth was 41,350 private sector jobs.

The next year -- from March 2011 to March 2012, the purple bar above -- saw a minor drop in total job growth. This year had three months of Gov. Doyle’s budget still in place with the remaining nine months being Walker’s very first budget being enacted. Total growth was 39,756 jobs, a drop of about 3.9 percent from the previous year.

But the last year for which data is available -- from March 2012 to March 2013, the red bar above -- saw a tremendous drop in private sector job growth. 24,305 private jobs were created, a 41 percent drop in growth from the 2010-11 job growth numbers.

While it’s true that jobs are still being created, it’s hardly the case that things are better off now than they were when Walker wasn’t yet governor. Indeed, the way that lobby groups like Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce put it, you’d think that Wisconsin has stepped up big time when it comes to economic prowess compared to the rest of the nation.

In reality, however, Wisconsin is falling behind. Without the context of the Philadelphia Fed ranking, WMC’s jobs ads serve only one purpose -- to distort Walker’s jobs performance, and to confuse the state into believing he’s done good for the state.

The truth is that the state has slowed down in a big way, in terms of jobs growth. And Walker cannot escape that fact, no matter how many millions of dollars his lobbyist friends want to throw behind him.

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