Latest quarterly report the second slowest year of WI's recovery (even slower than Doyle's last year)The Department of Workforce Development has released details about the latest quarterly jobs report due to be released nationally in December. Since the time of Scott Walker’s recall, the DWD has released the quarterly reports a month early.
The numbers for this report – which counts the number of jobs created between June 2013 and June 2014 – shows that more than 35,000 jobs were created during that yearlong period.
The DWD is quick to paint a rosy picture about the numbers, with Department Sec. Reggie Newson stating, “The latest quarterly data further demonstrate Governor Walker's comprehensive strategies and targeted investments are creating jobs and growing Wisconsin's economy.”
When compared to the previous year, in which less than 28,000 jobs were created, it does indeed seem like a stark improvement, worthy of praise that the DWD is handing out. When looked at over the course of Wisconsin’s recovery period, however, it’s a dimmer picture.
This second quarter report is the second worst year of recovery out of the four that Wisconsin has experienced since the end of the recession. In fact, the best year of recovery so far has come during the last year of former Gov. Jim Doyle’s budget – from June 2010 to June 2011. During that year, Wisconsin created nearly 40,000 jobs.
While the difference may be negligible to some, it’s important to note that during the latest gubernatorial campaign Gov. Walker was quick to point out the supposed “failures” of his predecessor’s policies. Those “failures,” however, generated more jobs in the second quarter report than any of the years that Walker’s budgets have been in place.
If we had kept pace with the rate of growth seen under the budget created before Scott Walker (e.g. Doyle’s last budget), we would have created nearly 20,000 additional jobs in the state than what we see now, or about 20 percent more than what Walker is claiming his “comeback” has thus far created. So, what policy could have prevented that many jobs from being created?
It could be Act 10, the union-busting law that Gov. Walker made his priority shortly after taking office. According to one UW economist, that law alone cost more than 20,000 jobs from coming to the state, as state workers would find themselves with new financial hardships, and as a result making less purchases in the communities in which they reside.
Or it could be that substantial tax breaks to corporations and the wealthy do little-to-nothing to spur an increase in demand within the state’s economy. While Walker gave tax breaks to the middle class as well, those cuts were negligible, amounting to a “fast-food” meal per week, hardly anything that could spur economic growth.
In either case it’s clear to see that what Walker is doing isn’t better for the state. Wisconsin’s comeback has slowed down under his watch, and it’s foolish for him or his administration to pat themselves on the back for job not-so-well-done.