Wisconsin continues to "slow down" on job creation under Walker's policiesProbably sensing a day that the media would be focusing on protesters in the Capitol rotunda, the Department of Workforce Development released preliminary jobs numbers from its quarterly jobs report yesterday.
The data was once considered the “gold standard” by the Walker administration, until people started getting wise and realized that the data showed Wisconsin was dead last in job creation in the Midwest. These days, it hardly warrants acknowledgement of any kind from the governor.
The data released yesterday can’t yet be compared to other states because it's released early. The federal report, which comes out next month, will provide a detailed analysis on where Wisconsin stands with the rest of the country. For now, we can only look at Wisconsin’s year-by-year comparison.
By that standard Wisconsin had yet another troubling year (PDF), its second-worst third quarter showing since Walker took office.
|Data obtained from Bureau of Labor Statistics and WI DWD|
The bottom line? The best year we’ve seen since Walker became governor had mostly to do with a Doyle budget (the blue bar in the graph above). Walker’s first budget didn’t take effect until June of 2011. The third quarter report from 2011 therefore includes nine months of Jim Doyle’s Democratic budget and three months of Scott Walker’s Republican budget.
Even with only nine months of Democratic policies in place, Wisconsin faired significantly better. In fact, the third quarter report from 2014 is roughly a 33 percent slower growth rate than the rate from 2011. In fact, if we had kept pace with the third quarter 2011 numbers, we’d have 42,438 more jobs today.
Would right to work legislation create more jobs in the state? Probably not (conservative pundits even admit to this). It may stimulate minimal job creation, but nothing the size Republicans are suggesting it would. And in many ways, right to work could HURT job creation in many sectors by further stifling demand in the state.
Here's how: Right to work states notoriously pay their workers less for the same jobs pro-worker states perform. With less income, workers will typically spend less, which hurts businesses elsewhere. And if businesses can’t see a significant boost in both profits and demand, they won’t have a reason to hire new workers themselves.
Right to work is not a remedy this state needs to be implementing, especially if it wants to focus on job creation. All it will do will hurt middle class families, which in turn will produce less demand in the state’s economy overall. That is a recipe for slower job growth.