ICYMI: Wisconsin Ranks Dead Last in the Midwest on Job Creation Under Scott Walker

Jun 18, 2014

Today’s release of the latest Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages data brings more disappointing economic news for Wisconsin’s middle-class, as the jobs numbers show Wisconsin ranked dead last in the Midwest and 35th in the country overall in job creation since Scott Walker took office.

Wisconsin continues to underperform the national economy all around; both the national economy and Midwest neighbors like Minnesota have regained all the jobs lost in the Great Recession, while Wisconsin has failed to do so, growing jobs at just about half the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reported last week that Wisconsin’s GDP growth over the last three years was well below the national average and second-to-last among all Midwest states.

Other key analysis of Scott Walker’s economic failures includes:
  • Scott Walker’s flagship jobs agency, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, created just 5,840 jobs over a two-year period: That’s according to official state data unearthed by investigative reporter Mary Bottari, who found that for every verifiable job WEDC created, the state lost more than two to plant closings and layoffs. In 2011, WEDC set a goal to create or retain 50,000 jobs in Fiscal Year 2012 in order to set a pace that would meet Scott Walker’s central campaign promise to create 250,000 new jobs by the end of his first term. WEDC fell short of its own goal by more than 50 percent, with only 23,759 jobs “impacted” in FY 2012. The term “impacted” is a sly way of skirting their responsibility to report “actual” jobs goals; the term combines both “expected” and “retained” jobs. $203 million in taxpayer money left WEDC in the form of grants, loans, and bonding authority — all to create just 5,840 jobs over a two-year period. During the same two-year period, a second state data set shows 13,616 jobs were lost in Wisconsin due to layoffs or closures. The two databases show that for every job Wisconsin gained via WEDC, more than two jobs were lost. 
  • Walker’s divisive policies have contributed to Wisconsin’s “job gap” compared to neighbors in the Midwest: UW-Oshkosh economics professor Kevin McGee underlines Walker’s inattention to jobs and the economy by highlighting Wisconsin’s “job gap” compared to our neighbors in the Midwest. According to McGee’s analysis, Wisconsin has created about 45,000 fewer jobs, on average, than it normally would have been expected to if it had kept up with historical trends through September 2013. McGee’s report suggests the extreme, divisive, and disruptive policy shifts at the beginning of Scott Walker’s first term have created consumer uncertainty and uncertainty for Wisconsin families. The result has been job underperformance and Wisconsin’s fall from 11th in job creation to 35th since Walker took office in 2011.

“Scott Walker inherited a recovering economy yet managed to turn it around to dead last in the Midwest and 35th in the nation in job growth with his divisive policies and inattention to jobs,” Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said Thursday. “If Scott Walker had run for governor on a campaign to diminish Wisconsin’s standards almost beyond recognition I’d say he’s doing a great job, but when it comes to job creation Scott Walker is a complete and utter failure.”