Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Milwaukee falling behind, and rural Wisconsin losing jobs over the last 12 months

After a couple of horrible statewide jobs reports in Wisconsin the last two months, I wanted to see how our cities and other communities were shaping up. We got a look at that from the local and metro area jobs and unemployment figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics today.

The best comparison in this report is to use the 12-month change in jobs, since it only tracks raw, non-seasonally adjusted numbers. And by that standard, Milwaukee trails all mid-size metropolitan areas in the Midwest when it comes to job growth.

Job growth, May 2017- May 2018
Minneapolis-St. Paul +29,000
Indianapolis +18,500
Detroit +17,200
Kansas City +16,000
Cleveland +13,900
St. Louis +12,300
Cincinnati +11,900
Columbus, Ohio +11,700
Milwaukee +6,700

And yet, the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce and their pathetic front man Tim Sheehy continue to be unquestioning supporters of Scott Walker and the WisGOP policies that keep us behind.

Even with that flagging record in Milwaukee, what jumps out when breaking down Wisconsin’s jobs number to the metro level is how heavily concentrated job growth has been in the 2 largest markets in Wisconsin over the last 12 months. Put together, over 61% of the state’s job growth was in the Madison and Milwaukee areas.

Job growth, May 2017- May 2018
Milwaukee metro +6,700
Madison metro +4,500

That stat illustrates just how bad it's been throughout the state, but including the smaller metro areas in Wisconsin pinpoints the problem. Along with Milwaukee and Madison areas, Wisconsin's metro areas accounted for a little less than ¾ of the state’s jobs in May 2018, but had metro areas had 117% of the state’s job growth.

How did they get 117%? Because the rest of the state has LOST jobs over the last 12 months.

Job growth, May 2017- May 2018
Milwaukee metro +6,700
Madison metro +4,500
All other metros +10,300

So not only is Wisconsin trailing all of our neighbors for job growth over the last 12 months, but rural “Trump/Walker country” is getting the worst of it. And how is it going to get better in small-town Wisconsin with agriculture getting hammered with falling dairy and soybean prices to go along with rural schools continuing to be underfunded and closing throughout the state?

While rural Wisconsin is losing jobs and dying, Governor Dropout is choosing to attend a photo op tomorrow with President Trump on a Fox-con that’s diverting even more jobs and resources from these declining areas now and in the coming years, and literally running people off of their land.

Do you wonder we’re losing in every corner of this state with these economically foolish oligarchs and their GOP puppets in charge?


  1. As farms go to greater and greater size and automation, the notion of the family farm is almost already an anachronism. Rural life simply can't support the numbers that it used to with the agricultural business model it's now tied to. That's been going on since "Grapes of Wrath" times, the Great Migration is still shaking out, and Mellencamp is still relevant.

    Remote access economies could remedy this at least to some extent, but we're going to need to invest in better internet connectivity to make that sort of thing a reality. I'm getting to a point in my life where it would be really nice to live in a smaller community and do all or most of my work from a home office.

    I can't imagine I'm alone in this.
    Rural Wisconsin deserves a better set of answers than Republicans have given them.

    1. Well, if Walker had taken the $23 million that the Obama Administration was giving it for rural broadband 7 years ago, maybe that would be happening, Jeff. Instead, Walker decided to stick it to the Black Man in the White House to hurt the economy ahead of the 2012 elections, and now we're several years behind as a result.

  2. I am curious - how is the Madison metro area defined?

    1. For that report, it's Dane, Iowa, Columbia and Green Counties. The maps of all the metro areas are on Page 22.

      FYI- Milwaukee metro is defined as Milwaukee County and the 3 WOW Counties, while Racine and Sheboygan are considered separate areas.