I'd been waiting for 2012's 2nd Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages. This report is also known as Scott Walker's favorite jobs metric, and the one Scotty was using when he got busted by the Journal-Sentinel for trying to spin his way into making the jobs numbers look good.
Well, the report finally gave the context I was looking for in the Walker Administration's job claims, and it showed Walker continuing to fail. Even the Walker-endorsing Journal-Sentinel jumped on the report, with headlines blaring about Wisconsin being 42nd in private sector job creation during the first full year of the Walker/WisGOP budget.
Not surprisingly, Walker tried to hide this type of apples-to-apples comparison when he had his DWD release these figures last month, because when you put Wisconsin up against all of its Midwestern neighbors, we fall woefully short. I'll even stick with private sector job growth, because that's how Walker insists he should be judged (even if that doesn't give the full story), and I'll use the stats from BLS's handy interactive map.
Private sector jobs, Jun 2011- Jun 2012
And that 1.5% increase is down from the 1.7% increase in private sector jobs that we had this time a year ago. June 2011 also marked the end of the Doyle-Dem budget, and this report illustrates the first year of the Walker/WisGOP budget. In fact, if you look at the last 2 years of year-over-year job performance as measured by the QCEW, you can see the number peaked at 1.9% in March 2011- the same month that Act 10 passed the state Legislature.
And the wage story isn't much better, as Wisconsin ranks 31st in wage growth in the U.S.. Although we at least made like the Packers and beat the Mud Ducks.
Change in avg weekly wage, Jun 2011-Jun 2012
The wage story is even more scarier when you look at how Wisconsin's figures compare to the previous quarter- it dropped from $826 a week in Q1 2012 to $778, a drop of 5.8% in 3 months. Now, some of that is due to Summer jobs leading to more part-time work and driving the average wage down (see, unlike Scotty, I'll look past the "raw data" for context). But when you look at the time since Wisconsin bottomed out from the recession, the trend is not Scotty's friend, with the two worst marks in wage growth since the start of 2010 have been in the last 9 months.
So no, it ain't working. And these figures don't even count the mediocre July, August and September job reports, where Wisconsin gained a total of 800 private sector jobs while the nation was gaining over 140,000 a month. Expect more bad numbers in the months to come, and to have that reflected in a rougher-than-portrayed budget picture.
The fact that the J-S would go ahead with the "pants on fire" rating and give this huge headline on Walker's failures also makes me wonder something else. Maybe JournalComm knows how badly it's hurt that paper to carry the water of Walker and the Bradley Foundation/MMAC oligarchy the last several years, and they're trying to escape the inevitable crumbling that is going to happen to this Administration in the next 2 years. If they do it soon enough, they're hoping people will forget what the allowed to slip by (not unlike critics of the Iraq War who only started speaking up around 2005 and 2006).
Sorry guys, I'm not forgetting what you at JournalComm have condoned and allowed to happen to this state. But if you're willing to finally hold Scott Walker and WisGOP accountable for their awful record on jobs, the economy, and the budget, then I say "Welcome to the party!"