Latest job numbers not good for Scott Walker — or those looking for work
November 23, 2013 6:05 am • MIKE IVEY | The Capital Times | firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike Ivey has been a reporter with The Capital Times for more than 25 years, covering business, the environment and politics. He was named the state's top business reporter in 2011 by the Wisconsin Newspaper Association.
A new round of numbers show the pace of job creation in Wisconsin slowing by 37 percent for the one-year period ending in June — not good news politically for Gov. Scott Walker or for those looking for work.
Figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released Thursday show Wisconsin added 23,968 private sector jobs from June 2012 to June 2013. That compares to the 37,959 jobs added from June 2011 to June 2012.
The numbers are from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW), which are drawn from data of 95 percent of state employers. The QCEW is generally considered the most accurate gauge of job growth.
The 23,986 jobs added over the period ending in June 2013 is down nearly 40 percent from the June 2010 to June 2011 period, when Wisconsin added 39,909 private sector jobs.
Democrats were quick to jump on the new CEW figures, saying they show Walker’s policies are not working to create enough jobs to replace all those lost during the recession. Wisconsin lost 149,652 private sector jobs from June 2008 to June 2009 under Gov. Jim Doyle when the nation went through its most dire economic downturn since the Great Depression.
"Far from the ‘unbelievable amounts’ of new jobs Scott Walker promised after the recall, these numbers are the worst we've seen in the past three years,” says Dem spokeswoman Melissa Baldauff. “Wisconsinites are sick of hearing excuses for why we aren't growing jobs like our neighbors in the Midwest and most of the rest of the nation.”
Walker has based his political future on improving the Wisconsin economy via tax cuts and ending public employee unions. But the state has lagged much of the rest of the nation in job growth under the first-term Republican, although the unemployment rate of 6.5 percent here remains lower than the nation’s 7.3 percent jobless figure.
The state ranked 34th in private sector job growth for the March 2012 to March 2013 period and 36th for the December 2011 to December 2012 period, according to the CEW. It’s not clear where Wisconsin ranks compared to other states for the June 2012 to June 2103 period, since numbers for all the states won’t be released until Dec. 18.
Walker also made a campaign pledge to help the state create 250,000 new private sector jobs during his four-year term, which began in January 2011. But the state is barely one-third of the way there with only 15 months remaining in Walker’s term.
Since the governor took office, Wisconsin has added 88,000 new jobs, according to the Current Employment Statistics, which are not considered as accurate as the CEW figures but are released in a timelier manner.
Meanwhile, economists are raising concerns over the lack of manufacturing job growth in the state. The latest CEW figures showed some improvement in construction hiring but not in manufacturing, a key component of the Wisconsin economy.
"I'm really surprised by the lack of job growth in manufacturing," Abdur Chowdhury, economics professor at Marquette University told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "That is a key factor for Wisconsin's recovery. The manufacturing sector generally provides good pay, especially for the three-quarters of state workers without four-year college degrees."
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