Gov. Walker’s promise to generate more job growth in the state remains unfulfilled
When it comes to job creation, Wisconsin continues to lag behind the rest of the nation.
Job creation was a pivotal part of then-candidate for governor Scott Walker’s campaign pledge in 2010, when he successfully defeated Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett to win the position. His victory in that election was due in large part to what he said he would do on jobs: Walker had promised to create more than 250,000 private sector jobs in his first term (2011-2015). So confident was he that he would succeed that he called the number his floor.
He came up short in that endeavor, big time. Wisconsin only created about 65 percent of Walker’s promise, or around 130,153 private sector jobs in four years’ time.
The latest jobs report that came out this week demonstrates we’re still creating jobs at a slow pace, especially when compared to the rest of the nation.
Wisconsin ranks 33rd out of the 50 United States and Washington D.C. in the latest jobs report. We had a year-to-year first quarter job growth of about 1.58 percent, or around 37,166 jobs created from March of 2015 to March of this year.
For comparison, the median state for job growth in the nation (Mississippi) saw a job growth rate of 2.11 percent (the U.S. as a whole created jobs at a rate of 2.1 percent). That means half the nation created jobs at least 33 percent faster than Wisconsin’s growth rate. The top quarter of states that outperformed Wisconsin did so at a pace that was at least 77 percent faster or better.
There is some good news from this report: Wisconsin outperformed Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota (Michigan continued to outperform us). Yet when compared to the rest of Walker’s tenure, from March 2011 to March 2016 Wisconsin only beat out Illinois (and barely so), with Minnesota, Iowa, and Michigan all doing better than us in the long-haul.
Sadly, this latest report is not indicative of Wisconsin performing better either. Our ranking in 2015’s first quarter report was 28th in the nation, and our rate of job growth then was 1.74 percent. In other words, we’ve slowed down our job creation rate by almost ten percent. In raw jobs numbers, we created 3,002 LESS jobs this year than in the year prior.
|Blue bar indicates Doyle budget year, |
red bars are Walker's budget years
Walker’s performance in first quarter annual reports -- in every year since he and the state Republican Party have controlled the state budget -- has yet to surpass the record of his predecessor’s last year. Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle’s final budget ended in June of 2011, which means the first quarter annual report from that year was under the influence of the last budget passed under Democratic control (and before public sector collective bargaining was eliminated through Act 10).
During that last Democratic year, jobs in Wisconsin grew at a rate of 1.90 percent, or 41,350 jobs from March 2010 to March 2011. If we had kept pace with that rate of job growth, we would have created 46,000 additional jobs that what we currently have through March of 2016.
It’s not even up for debate any longer -- Walker has failed to produce jobs at a faster rate under his leadership. His jobs agenda has failed. Tax cuts for the rich and corporate elite haven’t created more jobs as he promised it would. It’s not working.