Wrong way Wisconsin
When pollsters ask if the state of Wisconsin is moving in the right direction or the wrong direction, it turns out there is a correct answer. When we look at the job numbers, both in the last month and since the passage of the federal stimulus law in February 2009, it’s like looking at a road map and realizing we’re headed in the wrong direction. From this week’s article for the MacIver Institute:
For all of the commercials talking about who is a professional politician or how many stem cells it takes to screw in a light bulb,the real issue this election is jobs.
We now have the final employment numbers prior to the election. Not only are the numbers nowhere near where Wisconsinites would like them, they are actually getting worse. Wisconsin’s Department of Workforce Development announced a slight drop in the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in September to 7.8%, but the rate is not telling the whole story. Part of the decrease in Wisconsin’s unemployment is the result of Wisconsin’s favorite growth industry: government.
While DWD mentions in the press release an increase of 400 jobs net for government, they neglect to mention that the state of Wisconsin actually added 2,500 jobs in just one month. While local government saw a decline last month of 2000 jobs, Wisconsin’s local governments still have 600 more people living off your taxes over the same time last year. The federal government has added 800 jobs in Wisconsin since last year at this time.
Like former Minnesota Viking Jim Marshall, the state of Wisconsin is running the wrong way. In seasonally adjusted numbers, Wisconsin has lost 84,700 jobs since the near-trillion-dollar federal stimulus law was passed in February 2009. A significant part of this devastation has been the loss 30,300 manufacturing jobs.
The White House had hoped Wisconsin would see an increase of 74,000 jobs after the stimulus passed. We’re still not even at the pre-stimulus unemployment rate of 7.7%.
Former National Public Radio news analyst Juan Williams is not the only one who lost his job recently. Just in the last month, Wisconsin lost 9,900 jobs in the private sector using seasonally adjusted numbers. This wipes out the gains of the last two months and is the first drop in private sector employment since March. The state lost 1,600 jobs in manufacturing and 2,400 construction jobs in the last month.
Even as the number of available jobs is shrinking, so is the workforce. Using seasonally adjusted numbers, since the federal stimulus law passed in February 2009 Wisconsin’s civilian labor force has shrunk from 3,121,600 to 3,031,000, a loss of 90,600.