Thursday, December 18, 2014

Second Quarter 2014 jobs report: Wisconsin is dead last in the Midwest

Walker's policies since 2011 have sunk Wisconsin's jobs rankings

Scott Walker has said in the past that the state is growing jobs faster because of policies he’s put in place.

Well, the election is behind us now, but we can still see that’s clearly not the case. The second quarter 2014 jobs report is out, and Wisconsin is still lagging behind other Midwestern states, remaining in the lower half of states in the nation overall.

While the U.S. as a whole saw a 2.3 percent growth in private sector jobs, Wisconsin’s rate was only 1.5 percent, ranking us as 32nd in the nation. Among the states deemed as part of the Midwest (defined during the past election), Wisconsin is dead last -- just like it was in the previous quarterly report.

The graph below shows the difference between Wisconsin and its border states in the year from June 2013 to June 2014:

But it’s not just this past year that was bad -- we’ve been creating jobs at a slower rate ever since Gov. Walker passed his first budget, in June 2011. What’s worse than being the worst state in the Midwest for the past year? Being worst in the Midwest for the past three years. Which is exactly where Wisconsin stands today:

Private sector job growth was a dismal 4.3 percent from June 2011 to June 2014. That’s worse than any other state in the Midwest. We’re even worse than Illinois.

Some might argue that any growth of jobs is a good thing. Yes, Wisconsin is slowly growing jobs. But the entire nation is growing jobs, most of it at a faster rate than us. What we need to ask is whether the state is growing jobs because of Walker’s policies, or in spite of them.

For example: if we had simply kept pace with the jobs rate from the year before Scott Walker’s first budget was passed, we’d have done significantly better, creating 19,719 more jobs during that period of time. The budget that produced a better rate of growth before Walker, of course, belonged to former Gov. Jim Doyle.

Tax cuts that mainly benefit the rich and corporations do not spur economic growth. Walker is governing under a failed economic policy. It is demand for products and services, not more capital in the hands of the few, that will help Wisconsin become a leader in the nation.

Unfortunately, Walker is a stubborn governor, and likely running for president -- which means he won’t admit any error in judgment, not even if it will help create more jobs for the state.

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