Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Wisconsin jobs report, part II: a “manufacturers recession” under Walker's watch

Even by Walker’s standards, Wisconsin has failed under his “leadership”

In my earlier post this week about the latest Wisconsin jobs report, I mentioned how Walker has failed to create conditions to help the economy reach the 250,000 jobs promise he made for his first term in office. We’d have come closer to that promise if we had just kept pace with the jobs created during the first year of recovery in Wisconsin, under former (Democratic) Gov. Jim Doyle.

This failure on Walker’s part hasn’t gone completely unnoticed. In fact, just a couple of months ago, Walker changed the metric of success, saying that manufacturing wages was the real measure to look out for.

This post will focus primarily on that issue, so here’s the background of what Walker said in March from WPR:
"It's not just how many jobs — it's are those jobs paying at a significant level," Walker said. "If we see wages go up in manufacturing, to me, that's my ultimate goal."
So let’s take a closer look at that: from 2015 to 2016, manufacturing jobs decreased by 3,776 total jobs. But again, Walker says it’s income that matters. On that, he has also failed: manufacturing wages WENT DOWN by 5.3 percent during the same time period.

Again, when Doyle was governor, there was a better outcome, in the form of an increase in wages. Income for manufacturing workers went up by 6.7 percent year-to-year in Wisconsin’s first year of recovery, during a Democratic governor’s tenure.

Walker’s failures in 2016 have effectively created a recession for the manufacturing industry in the state, as far as wages and work created goes. Tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy, in addition to enacting “right to work” (for less) legislation, did NOT benefit the workers, as Walker promised the law would.

Right to work “gives Wisconsin one more tool to encourage job creators ... to continue investing and expanding in our state,” Walker said when he signed the bill. “Freedom to Work, along with our investments in worker training, and our work to lower the tax burden, will lead to more freedom and prosperity for all of Wisconsin.”

But it’s apparent that wasn’t the case. Manufacturing jobs AND wages have both fallen in the wake of the law’s passage.

Walker’s reforms have failed — and Wisconsin’s workers are suffering for it.

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