Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Low pay and few jobs = 2 years of Fitzwalkerstani fail

No surprises to me with the release of today's Quarterly Census on Employment and Wages, at least on the jobs side. Wisconsin fared poorly for job growth from June 2012 to June 2013, 42nd in the nation for total job growth, and 37th for private sector jobs, and continued to horribly lag the vast majority of the Midwest.

Private sector job growth, Midwest, Jun 2012-Jun 2013
Mich +2.79%
Minn +2.14%
Iowa +1.50%
Ohio +1.48%
Ind. +1.38%
Wis. +1.02%
Ill. +0.98%

The time period measured is important to note, as it lists the 12-month period after the recall elections of June 2012. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos and Governor Walker each claimed that job growth in Wisconsin was being held back due to "uncertainties" surrounding the recalls, and they said there would be huge growth immediately afterward if Walker and the Wisconsin GOP won. Well, that didn't happen. In fact, job growth FELL by nearly 40% after Walker was retained.

But you gotta give credit to the WisGOPs for one thing- they're consistently sucky. This time last year, the state was 40th in private sector job growth, and they're 38th nationwide (and dead last in the Midwest) for the last two years- which happen to be the two years Walker's and WisGOP's budget was in effect. So feel free to run on THAT record, guys.

The wages side is a mixed bag. On the positive side, weekly wages for all Wisconsin jobs were up 3.0% in the last year, and 2.4% in the private sector, both above the national average (the 3.0% increase for all wages was 3rd best in the nation). The problem with that is Wisconsin wages were well below our neighbors to begin with, and so this doesn't allow us to gain much ground.

Average weekly wage, June 2013
Ill. $971
Minn $929
Mich $875
Ohio $830
Wis. $801
Ind. $776
Iowa $757

This is especially true in manufacturing. Not only did Wisconsin lose 118 manufacturing jobs in the year surveyed, it also short-changes the people working in those industries.

Average weekly manufacturing wage, June 2013
Mich $1,184
Ill. $1,127
Minn $1,089
Ind. $1,040
Ohio $1,033
Iowa $978
Wis. $972

And Wisconsin's manufacturing workers weren't getting real raises either, with weekly wages losing ground to the country's 1.5% inflation rate in the period measured. Wisconsin's wage growth in manufacturing rated a horrible 45th in the U.S., and only Ohio kept it out of the Midwest's basement in this category. Also note who's Number 1 here.

Change in avg. weekly manuf. wage, Jun 2012-June 2013

Minn +2.64%
Iowa +1.66%
Mich +1.37%
Ill. +1.08%
Ind. +0.67%
Wis. +0.62%
Ohio +0.48%

That's right, not only is Minnesota gaining jobs at twice the rate of Wisconsin, they're giving manufacturing workers raises that are 4 TIMES MORE than Wisconsinites are getting, and at higher wages. So if you were a "free agent" manufacturing worker with skills, would you locate in the places that's got the better economy and better wages, or the place that's stuck in the mud, and paying less? NO BRAINER, and that's a big reason why we're losing ground to our Midwestern neighbors.

It also proves yet again that Wisconsin CEOs that claim they can't hire because there's a "skills gap" are full of crap. The QCEW data prove that a lot of the problem stems from the fact that Wisconsin manufacturers refuse to pay a fair wage to potential workers, and until they stop being low-paying greedheads, they won't get the top-flight applicants they want.

And with Gov Walker refusing to discuss raising the minimum wage or try to pass any type of regulation that might make manufacturers do their part in shrinking the wage gap, we will continue to lose work and workers to other places that give them what they're worth.

The QCEW data once again makes it clear- it is not working here in Fitzwalkerstan, and we are losing ground to our neighbors the longer we stay on this road.


  1. For some context of those wage percentages, Midwest annual inflation was at 1.7% for the second quarter, so only Minnesota workers in the manufacturing sector received a real raise while their Iowan counterparts just about broke even.

    Our quarterly rankings in 2-year private sector job growth rate have been, since the 16th achieved over the course of Doyle's last budget: 18th/30th/30th/32nd/33rd/34th/36th/38th.

    Here's a chart I made of our quarterly single-year rankings over the last few years.

  2. Your chart of the annual QCEW private sector job growth against time has long intrigued me.

    A linear regression from June 2011 (after which Walker economic policies took full effect) puts annual job growth at zero in June 2016, i.e. Wisconsin private sector jobs would peak in December 2015 at about 100,000 higher than they were in December 2010.

    Hopefully that's complete nonsense though.