Monday, September 30, 2013

Hard to be Open for Business when no one wants to come

I was surprised at the level of retweets I got on this subject, so it clearly hit a nerve, and I'm going to link to the article on this page as well. Governing magazine compiled Census data that showed where people moved to in 2012, and Wisconsin was 48th in the nation when it came to the number of people that came here from another state in 2012. Governing explains how it made its rankings.
In all, states welcomed more than 8.9 million new residents in 2012. Census data released last week paints a portrait of each state’s new crop of residents, showing significant variation across different demographic groups.

For the most part, newcomers mirror a state’s existing population and that of the surrounding region.

But this isn’t always the case. To examine differences in each state’s newest residents, Governing compiled updated data published by the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Mobility data was pulled for two groups: those moving from a different state (about 7.1 million individuals nationwide) and from abroad (approximately 1.8 million).

It should be noted that this analysis considers only individuals relocating to a state in 2012. It does not account for those moving within a state, births, deaths or net migration totals.
Basically, Governing did a measure of where people are moving to, and here's how Wisconsin fared (hint, it wasn't good).

Stats involving movers to Wisconsin
Total out of state movers 116,995
Movers as percent of state's population 2.1% (3rd lowest out of 50)
Median Income of Domestic Movers $16,764 (7th lowest out of 50)
Education attainment: Bachelor's degree: 43.2% (18th in U.S.), Master's degree: 18.6% (15th in U.S.)

Even the high levels of educational attainment aren't all that great in context, because many of those that move to Wisconsin include grad students moving to the Madison area to study at the UW (which has been subject to serious funding limitations and GOP criticism in recent years). With that atmosphere floating around, good luck getting those high-skill people to stay after their studies are done, especially when you have states like Minnesota (15th for Bachelor's movers, 18th for Master's), Illinois (8th for Bachelor's, 11th for Master's), and Michigan (19th for Bachelor's, 13th for Master's) competing for that same talent.

Wisconsin is also failing to compete in wages, as shown by the recently-released Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages. A good example of this is how the state matches up with its Midwestern neighbors when it comes to what they pay workers in manufacturing.

Average weekly manufacturing wage, Q1 2013
Ill. $1,313
Mich $1,277
Minn $1,180
Ind. $1,180
Ohio $1,110
Wis. $1,053
Iowa $1,008

Low wages aren't going to make people want to pack up and come here either. And despite the large amount of talk that Gov. Walker and WisGOP make about manufacturing and business development (by the way, the Gov wants you to know that Manufacturing Month starts tomorrow!), they NEVER discuss the low wages that are a primary cause of this state's alleged skills gap in these industries. In fact, Walker puppetmasters like Diane Hendricks would love it if wages were even lower in Wisconsin!

So when you combine the low wages with the cuts in public education, the institution of regressive social policies, and having a whole lot of ideologically-driven fools call the shots at both the Capitol and the Governor's Mansion, it adds up to being 48th in the nation in having out-of-staters move to our state. And those who do move tend to be poorer than other areas, and likely have lower skill levels to go with it, because the better skilled can get paid more elsewhere. That's not exactly raising the level of the talent pool in this state and making it attractive for businesses to want to come here, and sounds a whole lot more like some low-quality of life Confederate state that smart people leave as soon as they can.

If we're going in this direction in Wisconsin, it sort of flies in the face of being "Open for Business", doesn't it?

1 comment:

  1. Interestingly when looking at state to state migration alone, Wisconsin is 43rd in domestic immigration, suggesting that we don't have our share of international immigration.

    Also we're 48th in domestic (ha!) emigration, a number statistically identical to our domestic immigration for 28th place in net domestic migration.

    Both numbers are a bit lower than 2011's. My money is on people holding their breath to see the Walker endgame.