Saturday, June 22, 2019

Much of rural Wisconsin has fallen further behind 2010s, but keeps voting for failed GOP policies

Earlier this month, we had a release by the "gold standard" Quarterly Census on Employment and Wages (QCEW) that gave a complete picture of what looking at the biggest gainers over the 8 years that Walker and WisGOP controlled all facets of state policy, the state had cumulative private sector job growth of 233,101 (+10.26%).

But not all areas in Wisconsin did so well, including many of the places that are supporting Scott Walker and other Republicans in strong and increasing numbers. Remarkably, despite 8 years of US economic expansion, 11 of Wisconsin's 72 counties had fewer private sector jobs at the end of the Walker era than when they started, and 2 more had fewer than 100 jobs gained between December 2010 and December 2018.

Out of those 11 counties that lost jobs during Walker’s tenure in office, most had job growth bottom out during Walker’s first term, and slightly recovered over the last 4 years. But a handful were unfortunate enough to lose jobs in BOTH 4-year terms.

Wisconsin counties losing private sector jobs 2010-2014 and 2014-2018
Crawford Co.
Green Lake Co.
Price County
Iron County

Despite that reality, I’ve noticed Congressman Sean Duffy (R-Real World) giving this line a lot in recent months.

Odd that he says that, and not just because his Northern and Central Wisconsin district has taken on a lot of the record closings of dairy farms for the state. 26 of Wisconsin’s counties are part of Duffy’s district, and based on the most recent QCEW, many of those areas are losing jobs under Donald Trump's presidency.

Counties in Sean Duffy’s district that lost jobs
Lost private jobs in 2018
Ashland Co.
Clark County
Iron County
Jackson Co.
Juneau Co.
Langlade Co.
Lincoln Co.
Oneida Co.
Polk County
Price County
Washburn Co.
11 of 26 counties

Lost private jobs in 2017
Bayfield Co.
Chippewa Co.
Florence Co.
Forest County
Oneida Co.
Price Co.
Sawyer Co.
Taylor Co.
8 of 26 counties

Fewer private jobs in Dec 2018 vs Dec 2016
Forest Co.
Florence Co.
Oneida Co.
Price County
Washburn Co.
5 of 26 counties

There are also several additional counties in Duffy’s district that added less than 100 jobs in those years, which isn’t exactly “booming” growth. But then again, Duffy’s pretty much stopped being a rep of Wisconsin’s 7th District and is clearly trying to grift himself into a Trump-related job.

In addition, there are 5 Wisconsin counties that had decent growth from 2010-2014, but then lost jobs in Walker’s second term. All of these are ended up in the bottom 30% of job growth out of all Wisconsin counties for the last 8 years.

Job loss 2014-2018
Washburn Co -0.55%
Oneida Co. -1.84%
Waupaca Co. -2.38%
Marinette Co. -3.60%
Trempealeau Co. -5.81%

Remarkably, Trempealeau County swung from voting 56% for Barack Obama in 2012 to 54% for Donald Trump in 2016. Scott Walker also went from 52% support in that county in 2014 to 54% in 2018, despite losing 4% of support in the state overall, and the Assembly district that represents the county has flipped from Democrat to Republican at the time.

Now, Trempealeau is an unusual circumstance, as they relied heavily on frack mining as part of their strategy for job growth (how’d that work out for ya?) But Walker also grew his support in 3 of the other 4 counties that lost jobs during his second term (and only lost 1.2% in Waupaca vs 4% for the state). So what’s the cause and effect here? Is the talent leaving these rural places for higher wages and better opportunities, and what’s left behind more likely to be Republican voters these days?

I can somewhat understand if people in these areas wanted to take a chance on Trump (even if I don’t forgive it), but why stick with Walker when things got noticeably worse over his second term in office?

Likewise, it’s noteworthy that the strong growth in anti-Walker Dane County allowed the state's job market to be merely subpar instead of disastrous during Scotty's Reign of Error. Maybe rural Wisconsin needs more leaders and politicians that think like Madisonians do, and less like what ex-reality show characters like Sean Duffy and Donald Trump do.

1 comment:

  1. I want to hear Noah William's "explanation for this economic travesty, so it can be skewered, dissected, and held up for ridicule as the bought-and-paid-for apologism it is...