Sunday, November 24, 2013

Something WisGOP isn't Unintimidated about- being a Midwest loser

With our governor's book tour, I find myself surprised that few of our allegedly legitimate journalists aren't asking what the results are of his "Unintimidated" policies- particularly Walker's 2010 promise of 250,000 new jobs (later changed to 250,000 private-sector jobs) in his four years in office. Because that promise is far from getting fulfilled, and Wisconsin continues to trail all of its Midwest partners in getting people back to work.

This was verified again with the monthly release of state-by-state jobs numbers, which is now back on track after the October government shutdown. While the Walker Administration was trying to brag about a large, seasonally-adjusted increase in October of 12,400 private sector jobs, they didn't add that there was a loss of 4,600 jobs in September, which meant the state merely kept pace with the rest of the country for the last 2 months in the rate of job growth. And they certainly weren't going to put it in the context of the larger picture of Walker's failure since taking office in January 2011, where Wisconsin has the worst private sector jobs record in the Midwest.

Private sector job growth, Jan 2011- Oct 2013
Mich +6.27%
Ind. +5.32%
Minn +5.22%
Ohio +4.07%
Iowa +4.04%
Ill. +3.96%
Wis. +3.78%

And here's a graph courtesy of the Capital Times and the Democurmudgeon blog saying the same thing, with the steady U.S. jobs growth included.

What's also getting attention is a part of the Wisconsin DWD's information that it provided to the Quartlerly Census on Employment and Wages (QCEW). In addition to a 37% decline in private sector jobs added in the last year (as I pointed out here), the QCEW data said the state actually LOST manufacturing jobs in that time period (by 119). This job loss became part of the Journal-Sentinel's headline story on the state's jobs release, and it clearly worried the "Unintimidated" folks at WisGOP. I say this because they quickly shot out a press release in light of the October jobs report featured an addition of 6,000 seasonally-adjusted jobs.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) today released state-by-state employment estimates that show Wisconsin posted the nation's sixth-highest rate of manufacturing job growth from October 2012 to October 2013.

Wisconsin manufacturing jobs grew by 2.1 percent year over year, or 9,700, ranking it 6th highest in growth rate among states in the preliminary seasonally adjusted Current Employment Statistics (CES) data.
Sounds good on its face, but then you look at the non-seasonally adjusted numbers, and the "growth" of the last 4 months isn't as impressive as it looks on the surface.

Change in manufacturing jobs, Wis., June 2013-Oct 2013
Seasonally-adjusted +4,500
Non-seasonally adjusted -2,300

So more people really aren't working in manufacturing in Wisconsin, there just aren't as many seasonal layoffs in the last few months. That's not a bad thing, mind you (less layoffs can be a sign of more demand overall), but it's not actual jobs being created. And having the 6th-increase in manufacturing jobs in the U.S. isn't all that impressive, because as the Journal-Sentinel report shows, Wisconsin SHOULD be near the top in manufacturing job growth.
Economists said the slowdown in manufacturing hiring was significant because the state's manufacturing sector is the biggest single employer. Wisconsin has vied with Indiana for years in leading the nation as the state with the largest share of its workforce employed in manufacturing. In the first half of 2013, Wisconsin's share of manufacturing employment (16.4%) narrowly trailed Indiana's (16.7%).
So giving Wisconsin credit for growth in manufacturing jobs is like saying it means something that Wisconsin is in the upper half of the country for snowfall. It comes with our territory, and unless it's well above most everybody else, it isn't a sign of anything significant or unusual.

Now did you hear anything about this weak jobs record and deceptive promotion come up during Governor Walker's East Coast book tour? No, of course not, that would require a critical media doing its homework that would require Scotty to answer some uncomfortable questions, and you can bet those are taken off the table when his puff-piece interviews were agreed to.

The book may be titled "Uninitimidated", but the Walker folks are most certainly scared over his continued awful record on jobs. And sooner than later, it'll probably sink a lot of the claims he's making east of I-95.

P.S.- And here's an editorial in today's New York Times on how Minnesota chose to take a progressive turn in policy while Wisconsin descended into Walker World, and has kicked Wisconsin's ass economically over the last 34 months.


  1. Hi Jake. I have to point out in an otherwise ( and, as usual) fine post that there has been no lack of attention paid by local media to that jobs record.

  2. George- Thanks for reading and chiming in. The local media has been OK at this, but far too often falls for the Walker Admin spin and doesn't bring up the overall context of failure over the last 3 years.

    That being said, the QCEW numbers that are coming out in 3 weeks will likely make the Walker folks look bad (it's the worst 12-month rate of growth since 2010, while the U.S. is speeding up), and the J-S will be sure to mention it.