Thursday, December 17, 2015

June 2015 jobs report shows Wisconsin still lagging under Walker's watch

Governor had promised 250,000 jobs in four years -- it's been five and a half, and we're still not close

It’s become routine to point this out, but it’s still important to shine light on the fact that jobs are slow-coming in Wisconsin, lest anyone who still “Stands with Scott Walker” think things are somehow working (they’re not).

In the latest yearly survey released this week, Wisconsin grew just 30,759 private sector jobs from June 2014 to June 2015. That’s just shy of 1.3 percent growth for the year.

Across the nation, we’re ranked 37th in the states and DC in terms of jobs during that time. Aside from Iowa, that makes us the worst state in the Midwest for that time period.

When looking at jobs growth from the start of Scott Walker’s first budget in June 2011, however, there’s no mistaking it: we ARE dead last overall in the Midwest.

Wisconsin ranks 37th in the nation in job growth from June 2011 to June 2015. During that time, our growth rate was about 5.73 percent over four years.

For comparison, Illinois had a four year rate of growth of 6.26, Iowa had a 6.70 rate, Minnesota had a 7.66 rate, and Michigan had a growth rate of 10.5 percent.

Data derived from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Now, some will say that 30,759 jobs is a lot, and that I shouldn’t be too critical. Maybe our jobs growth is slower than some other states, but surely we’re doing better than before...right?

Not so much. We have to remember that the first year of recovery didn’t actually take place under Republican Gov. Walker’s watch. It happened while Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle was still in office.

During the final year of Doyle’s last budget, from June 2010 to June 2011 the state grew 39,909 private sector jobs. That means the latest year for jobs growth under Walker was 22 percent slower than the first year of recovery.

When Walker was running for office back in 2010 he said that he’d have his campaign promise of “250,000 jobs” tattooed on the foreheads of his cabinet members and staffers. Some doubted that the governor could achieve that pledge, but Walker made it clear that 250,000 jobs was his minimum acceptable jobs numbers he would create in the state.

In the five and one-half years since Walker took office, Wisconsin grew around 180,000 jobs, or about three-quarters of what he promised he could do in four years. At the pace we’re going at, Walker’s pledge will be fulfilled in the year 2018 -- three full years after he initially said it could be done.

That’s not acceptable. Political promises matter, especially ones that are the pillars of a campaign, and this governor said he should be held accountable to this one specifically. It’s far past time we hold Walker to his word, and hold him responsible for his failures.

All data derived from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

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