Thursday, August 6, 2015

Real data contradicts Scott Walker's employment claims

Walker says Wisconsin is doing better in unemployment, but employment rate compared to rest of the country tells a different story

Hours before the start of the first GOP debate, Gov. Scott Walker tweeted out an interesting statistic.

Walker is implying that his leadership in Wisconsin led to a better jobs recovery versus the rest of the nation.

But unemployment rates are tricky things – they don’t always lead to the reasonable conclusion that things are better. A drop in the labor force – the total number of people who either have jobs or are looking for work – can lower the unemployment rate, even if the number of people working doesn’t go up.

So let’s just look at employment totals – that is, the total number of people working.

An interesting thing happens when we do that: Wisconsin pales in comparison to the rest of the nation.

From June 2011 (when Walker’s first budget went into effect) to June 2015, Wisconsin saw a growth of around 104,037 people working. That’s nothing to sneeze at, but it’s way lower than what Walker promised in 2010 when he said he’d bring 250,000 jobs to the state. In fact, it’s only about 3.6 percent growth in employment.

But let’s forget about that broken promise. Let’s focus on how Walker’s rate compares to the national rate of change.

In the U.S. taken as a whole, the total number of workers who were employed grew by about 10,034,000 individuals. That’s a rate of growth of about 7.6 percent during the same period of time, or a rate that’s more than double what happened in Wisconsin.

Here’s a more visual way of how we’ve performed under Walker:

It couldn’t be clearer: we’re doing worse under Walker’s watch, falling way behind the nation overall.

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