Right on cue from my point yesterday, the Wisconsin DWD released the October 2010 unemployment numbers and they showed job growth not only for the month October, but a growth of 15,500 jobs year-over-year (up about 0.6% from the year before). This 0.6% increase puts Wisconsin right in line with the 0.6% increase nationwide, reflecting the 829,000 added jobs in the last year, with 151,000 of that in the last month.
Interesting how this didn't come out till after the elections that swept the Republicans back in power, wasn't it? In fact, Wisconsin has weathered the storm of this historical downturn pretty well compared to the rest of the country. Check out the change in unemployment rates in the last 3 years here vs. the U.S. rate. I'm using the October rates of each year
2010 2009 2008 2007
Wis. 7.8 8.7 4.9 4.8
U.S. 9.6 10.1 6.6 4.8
So when people say Jim Doyle and the Dems were brutal job-killer that made Wisconsin fall behid, they're DEAD WRONG. You think Nevada or Florida or any of those other subprime or Confederate states dealing with double-digit unemployment wouldn't want to trade with us? Same works for poverty rates.
2009 2008 2007 2006
Wis. 12.4 10.4 10.8 11.0
U.S. 14.3 13.3 13.2 13.3
1 in 8 in Wisconsin is quite a bit different than 1 in 7 nationwide. Now the gap has narrowed slightly from 2.3 to 1.9 points, but it's still 1.9 points below the national average. It's no coincidence that a high investment into health care and education is a big reason why Wisconsin is not in the high teens and 20+ (!) numbers that you see in the South and the subprime states.
So why bring this up? To show that Scott Walker comes into office in a state that is 1.9% below the national average in unemployment and poverty. I'm not thinking that's gonna continue (and not just because the U.S. economy's coming back, barring GOP intereference in Washington), and I think we need to start tracking it. We've done things right in Wisconsin because we don't fall for the low-tax, low-service garbage that plantation states like South Carolina or Mississippi do, but now we have a governor who is looking to Jeb Bush in Florid-uhhh (state motto: "As seen on COPS") as a model of educational reform (check out the "grading schools" idea). Uh oh.