Governor now says 250,000 jobs goal will be tough to reachThis past weekend Gov. Scott Walker spoke with WISN's Mike Gousha about the state of jobs in Wisconsin. Walker admitted that maintaining his campaign pledge of 250,000 new jobs in Wisconsin will be tough.
Gousha: Do you have to revise your expectations for what you can do in Wisconsin? You promised 250,000 new jobs, 10,000 new businesses, do you have to look at those numbers and say maybe that’s just not realistic?This is especially true given that Wisconsin's job numbers since Walker took office haven't been stellar. When Walker became governor, Wisconsin had 2,819,301 citizens with a job, and a 7.4 percent unemployment rate. In July, Wisconsin had a higher unemployment rate (7.8 percent) and a lower number of Wisconsinites with jobs (2,818,998). (Jobs data obtained at the Bureau of Labor Statistics, bls.gov.)
Walker: Well, there are certainly some who may look at the numbers and suggest that may be the case. My goal is to still get there -- my goal is to actually exceed that amount. We’re still going to keep pushing.
Gousha: Is it going to be tough to reach that?
Walker: Oh, I think without a doubt.
In other words, we've netted a slight loss in the first seven months since Walker took office.
But Walker, in the face of this realization, doesn't miss a beat. Rather than take responsibility for the drop in job numbers, he deflects blame to the national government:
Walker: You look at the national economy, the meltdown in Washington between both Democrats and Republicans over the debt, what that did to the financial market...we need to find ways to break through that.That argument might work for Walker...if it weren't for the fact that the recent market stumble and the fallout from the clash between Republicans and Democrats over the debt ceiling had actually happened in August, and not in July.
We've seen this spin before: Walker is placing blame where it doesn't belong, at least in the last month where data is available. But let's examine his argument further, compare job losses nationally to Wisconsin.
In June of this year, Wisconsin's unemployment rate was at 7.6 percent. The U.S. overall unemployment rate was 9.2 percent. From June to July, both Wisconsin and the U.S. saw changes in their rates -- but in different directions. The U.S. unemployment rate went down .1 percent, to 9.1 percent, while the state of Wisconsin's unemployment rate went up .2 percent, to 7.8 percent.
It seems that Walker's idea that Wisconsin's job troubles are tied to the nation's at-large is wrong.
Now, there are many reasons why this may occur. If a larger labor force (the number of workers plus the number of unemployed) enters the market, unemployment can go up even with an increase in jobs. However, in Wisconsin the number of those in the labor force actually went down between June and July by more than 8,000 workers, and the number of workers employed went down by more than 12,000. In short, the jobs problem in Wisconsin is Walker's, not Washington's, to deal with.
Walker is wrong to pass the buck onto the national government for the state of Wisconsin's jobs outlook. He's also wrong to believe that the policies he's enacted (and has yet to enact) will benefit us. Wisconsin, and the workers within it, cannot afford to have Walker its governor much longer.