Thursday, March 28, 2013

Low wage growth- a bigger failure than jobs

   Today the BEA came out with its year-end figures on Personal Income by state. And stop me if you heard this one before, but it doesn't reflect well on how things are going in Wisconsin.

Yep, that's us in the "lowest quintile" for personal income growth- 41st in the U.S., to be exact (income includes items such as selling assets, dividends and other ways to have money coming in addition to wages). And you may also notice the dark blue state to our west. Yep again, it's Minnesota, ranking 6th in overall income growth, continuing a trend where they keep kicking Wisconsin's ass economically. And if you go inside the numbers, it gets even worse for us in Fitzwalkerstan.
  The same report uses the Census Bureau's recent estimates of population for 2012, and figures income per capita based on that report and the income report. On the surface, it makes Wisconsin look merely below-average, at 5th out of 7 Midwestern states.

   per capita income change, 2012
   Ohio +3.84%
   Minn +3.74%
   Ind. +3.40%
   Mich +3.40%
   Wis. +2.43%
   Ill. +2.38%
   Iowa +2.34%

   But then you go inside the numbers, and you notice that it's even worse than that in Fitzwalkerstan. Because several Midwestern states were hit hard by the Summer drought, which dropped income by huge amounts in some places. For example, Illinois lost over $2 billion in farm income earnings, Iowa lost $1.42 billion, and Indiana $734 million. Wisconsin lost some too, $179 million worth, but certainly not on the level of those states (interestingly, Minnesota gained $977 million in farm income). So let's assume all the Midwestern states had $0 farm income, which erases the losses in most states, and gives us the non-farm income change.

   per capita income change with $0 farm income, 2012
  Ohio +3.95%
  Ind. +3.71
  Iowa +3.47%
  Mich +3.44%
  Minn +3.33%
  Ill. +2.75%
  Wis. +2.52%

  Dead last in the Midwest in income-per-capita growth. Another black mark on the record of Scott Walker, and completely contradicts the idea of trickle-down, where lower taxes and lower public expenditures should be offset by higher wages. Hasn't happened.

  And this was borne out today with the release of the Quarterly Census on Employment and Wages. Obviously the big headline is  Wisconsin slipping to 44th in the nation in 12-month job growth for Scott Walker's favorite stat, but the wage part is also horrible, as average wages dropped across the board in this 12-month period.

  Wisconsin weekly average wage change, Sept. 2011- Sept. 2012
    All jobs  -2.7% (47th in U.S.)
   Private sector -2.2% (45th in U.S.)
   Manufacturing -4.1% (46th in U.S.)

  And dead last in the Midwest in every one of these stats as well. Hell, who needs right-to-freeload laws when workers are already getting jacked around and paid nothing?

   Don't worry, I'll have plenty to say about today's disastrous jobs reports in the coming days (when losing private sector jobs in February and having unemployment go up to 7.2% is the third-worst jobs story for Scott Walker today, that tells you quite a bit, don't it?). But let's also remind people that it's not just the lack of jobs that is causing pain in Fitzwalkerstan- it's also the lack of wages that the "job-creators" refuse to give to those that DO have jobs. And Walker and WisGOP deserve to pay a price for that failure as well, as low wages for workers are the intelligence of trickle-down's design.

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