Thursday, September 1, 2016

Walker tweets about “Wisconsin Comeback” days ahead of (likely) bad jobs report

Tweet from Walker -- linking to a seven-month-old article -- raises suspicions

Scott Walker tweeted out a curious comment on Thursday.

“Nice column on the Wisconsin Comeback,” Walker wrote, which was followed by a link to a Forbes article by Patrick Gleason (the article itself is highly misleading, neglecting to mention shortages in transportation funding as well as the teacher shortages now facing the state as a direct result of Act 10; its author is a member of the far right-wing Americans for Tax Reform, which is run by noted conservative Grover Norquist).

The odd thing about the tweet? The column it references was written seven months ago. There’s nothing new about it, and it’s kind of weird for Walker to be pushing it to his Twitter followers at this point in time.

Regular readers of this blog will know that when Scott Walker starts talking about the “Wisconsin Comeback” it’s usually because of some other economic news that is about to break that’s not to the liking of the governor. The so-called “comeback” typically glosses over many problems facing the state, and includes misleading stats that are favorable to Walker’s claims but are highly unreliable.

Aside from tax collections in the state falling by about $85 million this fiscal year, there's also a jobs report Walker has to worry about. This coming Wednesday the quarterly report on jobs is expected from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which will likely include some bad news when it comes to Wisconsin’s ranking compared to the rest of the nation. Walker’s administration released its first-quarter yearly job numbers last month, which showed that 37,432 private sector jobs were created between March 2015 to March 2016.

That sounds like a lot to the casual observer, except that it’s slower than what we created in the year prior to that (40,168 jobs from 2014-2015) and slower even still to what Walker’s predecessor, former Gov. Jim Doyle, produced in his final budget year.

So why do I expect bad news? In the most recent national jobs report during that March-to-March timeframe, we ranked 40th out of 50 U.S. states in job creation. With a slower state jobs report this year compared to last, we can expect to be ranked similarly (or worse) in this coming week’s report. We will find out on Wednesday.

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