First, let's go with the Walker Administration's spin on things. Not surprisingly, Walker
Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Reggie Newson today issued the following statement on today's U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report. The report shows Wisconsin had statistically significant growth year-over-year in private-sector and total non-farm jobs and the state's unemployment rate fell to 5.9%, the lowest rate since November 2008:That makes it look like Wisconsin is some kind of standout, but a look at the state-by-state report shows we're not very special at all. It shows half of the states in America had a "statistically significant" drop in unemployment rates the last 12 months, and that doesn't even include places like Minnesota and Iowa that already had unemployment at an extremely low rate last year, so it couldn't fall much further. 26 of the 50 states had a "statistically significant" increase in jobs, and Wisconsin's case is especially noteworthy because the BLS was counting the 8,500 GOVERNMENT jobs added in Wisconsin over the last 12 months (the same government jobs that used to be evil and wasteful in 2011 Fitzwakerstan but apparently are OK now).
"The release today of the latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report shows that Wisconsin has added tens of thousands of private-sector jobs, while Wisconsin's unemployment rate continues to decrease with a 'statistically significant' drop between March 2013 and March 2014," Secretary Newson said. "With Wisconsin's unemployment rate at a five-year low, Wisconsin is well-positioned to increase opportunities for working families."
When private sector job growth for the last 12 months is compared to the rest of the Midwest and especially the nation as a whole, Wisconsin's numbers for the last year look quite mediocre.
Private sector job growth, Midwest and U.S., Mar 2013- Mar 2014
It's an equally subpar performance when you look at Wisconsin's track record in job creation the last 2 years.
Private sector job growth, Midwest and U.S., Mar 2012- Mar 2014
In fact, Wisconsin's March-to-March job growth for each of the last 2 years is worse than the rate we had from March 2010 to March 2011- which happens be 12 months leading up to Act 10.
Private sector job growth, March 2010-March 2013
March 2010-March 2011 +1.50%
March 2011-March 2012 +1.89%
March 2012-March 2013 +1.14%
March 2013-March 2014 +1.24%
So much for the ideas that Act 10 and retaining Walker in the 2012 recall election removed "uncertainty" and caused job growth to take off. In fact, it looks like it did the exact opposite, making us stagnate instead of continuing to grow.
Now if there's a bright spot for the Fitzwalkerstanis, it's that Wisconsin wasn't the only state whose job numbers suffered from the polar vortex winter. The tepid job private sector job growth of 900 total jobs in Q1 2014 don't look so bad when you realize only 2 of other 6 Midwestern states added jobs over that same time period (Ohio and Minnesota). Maybe all of this pent-up demand gets unlocked as Spring finally appears in these parts (unless you live north of Hwy. 29), and then job growth bounces back accordingly. But I also see that Wisconsin had over 10,000 new unemployment claims in the last week listed, and only 7 other states had more. That's not a good stat when you're 20th in population.
Bottom line is that the Walker campaign is trying to spin that Wisconsin's economy is turning around and going in the right direction. I see no evidence of that from the recent jobs reports, and in fact, any job growth seems to continue to be a product of the Obama Recovery dragging us ahead IN SPITE of Walker/WisGOP policies, not because of them.