Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Walker Admin tries to spin sucking less as success. It's not

As Gov Walker's budget address and inevitable re-election campaign nears, his Department of Workforce Development used the recent occasion to release another bit of propaganda trying to convince Wisconsinites that things are doing great in Wisconsin.
•Wisconsin ranked 1st in Midwest and 14th in the nation in manufacturing growth rate compared to December 2015.
•Wisconsin ranked 1st in the Midwest and 11th in the nation in manufacturing growth rate when compared to November 2016.
•Wisconsin's net gain in manufacturing jobs over both the month and the year were the highest in the Midwest and ranked 3rd and 7th in the nation respectively, according to the data.
That sounds impressive...until you actually look at the recent state-by-state jobs report that these statistics are drawn from. Sure, Wisconsin added 3,000 manufacturing jobs on a seasonally-adjusted basis in December, but we had actually lost 400 jobs in manufacturing in the 11 months before then.

And that "1st in the Midwest" ranking in the Midwest for manufacturing growth? That's because almost everyone else was in a manufacturing recession in 2016.

Change in manufacturing jobs, 2016
Wis. +2,600
Mich +2,500
Ind. -1,200
Minn -1,500
Ohio -2,900
Iowa -7,000
Ill. -11,000

In a similar vein, many Midwestern states saw tepid job growth throughout 2016.

Private sector job growth, 2016
Mich +1.91%
Minn +1.68%
Wis. +1.16%
Ind. +0.87%
Ohio +0.82%
Ill. +0.52%
Iowa +0.51%

If you didn't know better, you'd think Wisconsin looks pretty good from this perspective, coming in 3rd out of 7 Midwest states for private job growth last year. But here's the problem. Wisconsin didn't rise from 6th to 3rd on this list because our job growth improved form 2015 (it actually declined from 1.28% to 1.16%), but did so because most of the other Midwest states fell by more than we did.

Those declines back up a theory I have mentioned before- where the slowdown in the Midwestern economy could help explain why enough people were angry enough to vote for Donald Trump out of frustration (gee, thanks guys!). Pennsylvania also works in this theory, as their private sector job growth was a measly 0.71%, behind all Midwestern states except Iowa and Illinois.

And even with Wisconsin moving "up" on the list of Midwestern job growth, we still badly trail most of our neighbors in job growth since 2010 because of the hole that the first 5 years of the Age of Fitzwalkerstan put us in.

So don't get tricked by the Walker Administration's spin jobs trying to intimate that "it's working" and that Wisconsin is some kind of Midwestern economic leader. When given the long view of Scott Walker's reign of error, nothing could be further from the truth. And saying "We're sucking less than the other guys over the last year" isn't something to hang your hat on- it's like saying "Well, the Pack did better than the 3-13 Bears this season."

LET'S DEMAND MORE out of how this state is performing, shall we?

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