As we wait out election results on an ugly weather day, I wanted to remind you of the subpar situation that right-wing rule has left Wisconsin in. And with the recent benchmarking of jobs figures for the last several years, its a good time to revisit how Wisconsin shapes up in the Midwest for job growth.
With those new benchmarks of data in place, UW’s Menzie Chinn updated the comparisons for job growth across the Midwest since the start of 2011. That year is a good marker given that 6 new governors out of the 7 states took power in early 2011, and it's a pretty long-term sample size to see how things have shaped up.
The findings shouldn’t surprise you, but Wisconsin lags 4 out of 6 of our Midwestern neighbors. It was 5 out of 6 that we were behind until we passed Illinois in the last few months – reflecting job reports which haven’t been benchmarked to the “gold standard” Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages (QCEW).
But what about the years before 2011? If you look at Midwestern job growth before and after the Great Recession, there’s some proof behind the theory that larger job losses as the economy went down meant higher job growth as the economy recovered and the jobs came back. That is certainly the case in states like Michigan and Indiana, but it’s not a perfect correlation, as states like Illinois and Ohio had sizable job losses, but didn’t recover as much.
It also makes Minnesota's strong performance of the last 7 years all the more impressive, as our Neighbors to the West had the 2nd-lowest loss of jobs in the Midwest during the Recession era, but has had the 3rd highest recovery over the last 7 years. This means Minnesota is the best of the Midwestern states for the last 11 years in an “index” of job growth, which combines the total job loss from 2007-2011 and the private sector jobs added since then to let us know how each state looks overall.
By comparison, Wisconsin survived the Recession better than most of the states in the Midwest, but hasn’t benefitted much from the Obama Recovery in the Age of Fitzwalkerstan. It shows that things really weren't as awful under Jim Doyle as they were in other industrial Midwestern states at the same time. But the weak recovery under Walker means that we are in 5th place in the Midwest index over the last 11 years, and notably behind Minnesota and Michigan.
This leads to an obvious question – with job growth continuing to lag behind behind in "Open for Business" Wisconsin, why would we think anything would change with the same right-wing tools in charge? This applies for all three branches of state government, and it needs to be changed in all forms of election in 2018. Let's hope it starts tonight.