Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sorry Reg, Walker still makes Wisconsin Number 1

As suspected, Wisconsin got named again in this month's BLS "Jobs Report by State" report. And yes, Wisconsin is indeed Number 1.
In November, nonfarm payroll employment increased in 29 states and the District of Columbia, decreased in 19 states, and was unchanged in 2 states. The largest over-the-month increases in employment occurred in New York (+29,500) and Texas (+20,800). The largest over-the-month decrease in employment occurred in Wisconsin (-14,600), followed by Minnesota (-13,700) and Colorado (-4,500).
Yep, we lead again. But that's not the fun part of this story (if disastrous job loss can be considered fun).

The best comes from the reaction from various sides of the political aisle. First, we got Assembly Dem leader Peter Barca: (Run Peter, RUN!)
"For the second month in a row, Wisconsin led the nation in job losses. And the latest response from the governor and his administration has been to complain about the methodology.

"Other states continue to benefit from ongoing national job gains. Unfortunately, instead of regaining ground that's been lost every month since passage of this Governor's economic plan, Wisconsin lost another 14,600 jobs in November.

"The monthly figures were used by the governor to boast at a press conference in June when they showed gains, primarily in tourism, before his budget passed. Since that plan took effect in July, the numbers have fallen every month."
And then we have the counter spin, from Walker flack/ DWD Secretary Reggie Newson.
"The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics dramatically overestimated Wisconsin’s job loss for the month of October, and revised figures show Wisconsin did not lead the nation in job loss during that month. Representative Barca is not only wrong, but his false statements only reaffirm the need for a job reporting system that more accurately reflects the status of Wisconsin’s workforce.

The truth is that Wisconsin's unemployment rate has dropped this year, the number of unemployment claims has dropped this year, and state sales and withholding tax collections have grown this year.
And on its face, Newson's comments have some validity. With the revisions, Wisconsin was only Number 6 for job loss in October and not number 1 (Yay! Golf clap!) And DOR revenue estimates show that Wisconsin revenues have somehow continued to grow for these 5 straight months of job losses vs. the same months last year. However, that revenue growth isn't by much (3.7% sales, 4.9% income, 4.6% overall), has leveled off over the last 2 months, and that "improvement" will stop once the much-better-than expected months of December 2010 - May 2011 are used in these year-over-year calculations. We'll still fall $500 million or so short on revenues for this fiscal year, you watch.

Wisconsin's unemployment rate has now dropped to 7.3% vs. the 7.4% it was when Walker took over, after being as high as 7.9% three months ago. But the U.S. unemployment rate has still fallen twice as fast as Wisconsin's since Walker's budget was signed into law (0.6% vs. 0.3%), and even in that survey, Wisconsin has lost jobs since June, with the lower unemployment only due to 11,200 people dropping out of the work force. So if Newson was really being honest, he'd credit Obama a lot more than Walker with this cosmetic drop in the unemployment rate. But he doesn't get paid to tell the truth, now does he?

And despite Barca's misspeak about being the leader for the second straight individual month (we're back at 1 month of "leadership"), he's right on another point. WISCONSIN KEPT ITS POSITION AS NUMBER 1 FOR JOB LOSS SINCE WALKER'S BUDGET WAS SIGNED IN JUNE. And no other state is close to how bad we've been.

U.S. job change June 2011- November 2011
Wisconsin -34,900 (-1.26%)
Georgia -8,600 (-0.23%)
Missouri -8,200 (-0.31%)
Minnesota -7,200 (-0.27%)
Montana -2.400 (-0.55%)

Sorry Reg, but there's no way to spin job losses that are 4 TIMES THE NEAREST STATE. And given that this report was made before the mill closings in Wausau and Brokaw, as well as the strike in Manitowoc and the closing in Two Rivers, do you really see this turning around any time in the next few months? Of course not, and it is insulting to try to pass the blame off to the BLS and D.C. when the rest of the nation is kicking our ass. Hell, "high-tax" Illinois has beaten us by over 43,000 jobs since Walker's budget was signed. Maybe business owners see demand and respect for work in Illinois that doesn't exist here in Fitzwalkerstan, and that's why they're choosing to set up there instead of here.

So as much as Reggie Newson may try to give his little half-truths and lies by omissions, he can't cover up the disaster that Wisconsin has been under Walker and the GOP's budget. And the only way this disaster changes course is to end Fitzwalkerstan, and return us to the Wisconsin we know and love.

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