Saturday, January 7, 2012

Jobs- Not bad in U.S., which makes Wisconsin REAL bad

You may have seen yesterday the strong December jobs report that came out from the BLS yesterday, with 200,000 new jobs created and the unemployment rate dropping to 8.5% - lowest in nearly 3 years. It topped off a year where U.S. jobs slowly but surely came back, with 1.92 million jobs created in the private sector in 2011 and 1.64 million jobs overall, and we are now at rates of unemployment and total jobs that we haven't seen since around the time the stimuus was passed in 2009. (which further illustrates my theory that while it was too small for what was needed, the stimulus definitely stabilized an economy that was in free fall in early 2009). You have to go back to the start of 2007 (right before the housing bubble popped) to find a time when a higher percentage of jobs had been created in the last 12 months, and even manufacturing did well this year, with 225,000 more jobs than at the end of 2010, and 23,000 more in December alone.

This U.S. job improvement needs to be a constant reminder to people who constant denigrate Barack Obama's jobs record (while he certainly hasn't done all that he could have or should have, our economy is definitely in better shape than we were 3 years ago). It also needs to be a reminder of the failures of Scott Walker, because had Wisconsin kept up with the national trend of job growth, we would have seen the following record: (you'll need to add in December's Wisconsin numbers for the year-long comparison).

2011 Wisconsin = U.S. job change 34,450
2011 Wisconsin actual job change 3,900 (-30,550 vs. U.S.)

2011 Wisconsin = U.S. private job change 41,200
2011 Wisconsin actual private job change 2,400 (-38,800 vs. U.S.)

2011 Wisconsin = U.S. manufacturing job change +8,450
2011 Wisconsin actual manufacturing job change +5,900 (-2,550 vs. U.S.)

By both private and public job measures, it can be argued that the state is bleeding between 2,500 and 3,000 jobs a month due to policies enacted since Scott Walker became governor and the GOP took over the Legislature. This is in sharp contrast to 2010, when Wisconsin was creating jobs at nearly double the U.S. rate under Doyle/ Dem control. And even if the jobs report is reasonably strong in Wisconsin for December, it should be good. When the U.S. is gaining 212,000 private sector jobs, we should be getting 4,000 jobs in the private sector in Wisconsin. So if we have some kind of positive bounce-back number of a few thousand jobs for December, I don't want to see Scott Walker running around saying "It's working", because the real credit should be going to Barack Obama's tide lifting Walker's sinking boat.

Obviously, there's a long way to go, but I'm finding the recent U.S. jobs reports encouraging, and if it continues, we should be gradually pulling ourselves out of the mess laid at our hands by the execesses and foolishness of the 2000s. But here in Wisconsin, we've gone from climbing to falling, and we'll need a similar "Dubya to Obama" change at the top of our government to help us get out of our 2011 mess.

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