Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Wisconsin jobs report, part I: Walker’s pace WAY slower than Jim Doyle’s final year

To reach failed goal of 250,000 jobs would take more than two years from today

I’m late to the game here — Wisconsin’s latest jobs numbers came out on Friday — but I have a good excuse: I was heading to the northwoods, making an early getaway on this Memorial Day weekend to spend time with family.

Which I suspect is what Gov. Scott Walker and his administration was hoping for, but on a grander scale. Dropping bad news on the eve of a three-day weekend makes it less likely that people will pay attention to what’s happened.

And what has happened? Wisconsin’s latest jobs numbers show a dismal 0.48 percent growth in jobs from December 2015 to December 2016, amounting to less than 1,000 jobs created per month, or around 11,590 jobs created total.

We can’t yet compare that outcome to what happened around the rest of the country — Wisconsin releases its jobs numbers a full month ahead of the federal report on jobs. So we’ll have to wait and see what this means when compared to our neighbors and the rest of the nation.

We can take a look at how Wisconsin has fared last year compared to how it has done in the past. And it’s no surprise here: 2016 was spectacularly low.

It’s worth pointing out that there are seven years of jobs recovery for Wisconsin, the first one starting in 2010. That first year of recovery happened under a different governor’s watch: Jim Doyle, a Democrat, oversaw an economy that recovered 33,658 in that time.

Since Walker was elected and began his tenure as governor in 2011, he’s only outperformed Doyle on two occasions in the fourth quarter jobs reports. In contrast, Doyle’s last year of employment gains was better than Walker’s performances on four occasions.

In fact, if we had kept Doyle’s pace of jobs growth — a pace that, at 1.5 percent, wasn’t exactly as fast as we’d have liked it to be either — Wisconsin would have gained an additional 39,439 jobs during the past seven years of recovery.

Scott Walker’s promise of creating 250,000 jobs in four years is an epic failure. Walker has created just short of 180,000 jobs in six years. It would take two more years and four more months, at this rate of jobs growth, to reach Walker’s original goal — in other words, what Walker promised he could do in one term of office will take longer than two terms to complete.

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