The Wire

Scott Walker, Where Are The Jobs? (They're In Other States)

Scott Walker isn’t just failing to fulfill his own job creation promise–he’s failing to keep up with surrounding states. A new report shows that Wisconsin has created about 45,000 fewer jobs than would have been expected if the state kept up with historical trends.

Moreover, the analysis shows that by December of 2010, towards the end of the Doyle administration, Wisconsin had regained a higher percentage of jobs lost in the recession than any other state included in the study. But by September of 2013, after three years under Gov. Walker and his hyper-conservative policies, Wisconsin had recovered a fewer percentage of its jobs than Minnesota, Michigan, Iowa and Indiana. The state’s job gap doubled in Walker’s first year, and increased again in his second year.

This report is more than just a confirmation that Scott Walker’s agenda has been bad for Wisconsin. It’s a real-world indictment of the very policies that the Republican Party constantly champions. We’ve been told time and time again that if only we slashed taxes and shrank government, the free market would bring prosperity to all. But this austere path has only stifled once-booming job growth in Wisconsin, and the state is set to spend $559 million more than it takes in next year.

Walker’s conservatism has long been the toast of the GOP. Chris Christie praised his reforms for making Wisconsin “a better place to live and work.” Grover Norquist declared that “his success in Wisconsin will change America.” And AFP president, Tim Phillips lauded his agenda as “the new model for the country.”

Well, the results are in. The model has failed. And America is not soon to follow in Walker’s footsteps.

Background

University Of Wisconsin Report Measured Wisconsin’s “Jobs Gap” Compared To Other Midwestern Neighbors. According to the Stevens Point Journal, “The report, published in March by professor Kevin McGee, attempts to measure Wisconsin’s ‘job gap’ compared to other Midwestern neighbors.” [Stevens Point Journal, 6/9/14]

Under Walker, Wisconsin Created About 45,000 Fewer Jobs On Average Than Would Have Been Expected If The State Had Kept Up With Historical Trends. According to the Stevens Point Journal, “From those models, McGee estimates Wisconsin has created about 45,000 less jobs, on average, than it normally would have been expected to if it had kept up with historical trends through September 2013. ‘It has been clear for some time that Wisconsin was underperforming in job growth, relative to our neighbors. What wasn’t clear was whether this underperformance was relatively small or relatively large,’ McGee said of why he undertook the study. ‘I would say that any of the measures I developed weren’t perfect — which is why I ended up developing several measures — but taken as a whole, they do supply a fairly consistent picture of the approximate size gap.’” [Stevens Point Journal, 6/9/14]

Before Walker, Wisconsin’s Job Gap Numbered About 13,000

December 2010: Wisconsin Was Only About 13,000 Jobs Behind Its Six Neighboring States. According to the report Measuring Wisconsin’s Job Gap, “In September 2009, one year into the Great Recession, Wisconsin had a job gap of about 34,000 jobs, relative to the US as a whole and its 6 neighboring states. By December 2010, at the end of Gov. Doyle’s second term, Wisconsin was only about 13,000 jobs behind these peers.” [Measuring Wisconsin’s Job Gap – University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, March 2014]

Wisconsin’s Jobs Gap More Than doubled In Walker’s First Year; Increased Again During his second year

During The First Year Of Walker’s Administration, Wisconsin Fell An Additional 15,000 Jobs Behind Its Neighbors; And Fell Back An Additional 7,000 Jobs During Walker’s Second Year. According to the report Measuring Wisconsin’s Job Gap, “In 2011, during the first year of Gov. Walker’s administration, Wisconsin fell an additional 15,000 jobs behind its neighbors, and in 2012 it fell back an extra 7,000 jobs. As a result, by December 2012 the job gap was about 35,000 jobs. By last September it had further grown, to about 45,000 jobs.” [Measuring Wisconsin’s Job Gap – University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, March 2014]

Between December 2010 And September 2013, Wisconsin Only Created 74% Of The Jobs That Would’ve Been Required To Keep Up With Its Neighbors. According to the report Measuring Wisconsin’s Job Gap, “To keep up with its neighbors, over the last 33 months (Dec. 2010 to September 2013) Wisconsin should have created about 112,000 jobs. It actually created 82,718 jobs, only 74% of the standard.” [Measuring Wisconsin’s Job Gap – University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, March 2014]

Study: Wisconsin Showed Signs Of A Strong Recovery Late In The Doyle Administration…

Wisconsin Lost 6.4% Of Its Jobs During The Economic Downturn. According to the report Measuring Wisconsin’s Job Gap, “During the economic downturn, Wisconsin lost 6.4% of its jobs. Only Iowa and Minnesota were less initially impacted by the downturn.” [Measuring Wisconsin’s Job Gap – University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, March 2014]

  • Wisconsin Outpaced The US And Its Six Neighboring States By Regaining 62% Of Lost Jobs By The End Of The Doyle Administration. According to the report Measuring Wisconsin’s Job Gap, “Since then however, Wisconsin has only regained 62% of the lost jobs. It had recovered almost 20% of its job losses by the end of the Doyle administration, outpacing the US as a whole and all of its 6 neighboring states.” [Measuring Wisconsin’s Job Gap – University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, March 2014]

…But The Recovery Stalled After Walker Took Office

Since Walker Took Over, Wisconsin Has Only Recovered An Additional 42% Of Its Jobs, Close To Last Among Its Neighbors And Below The National Average. According to the report Measuring Wisconsin’s Job Gap, “Since then however, it has only recovered an additional 42% of its lost jobs, close to last among it peers, and well below the 66% nationally during that same time period.” [Measuring Wisconsin’s Job Gap – University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, March 2014]

Wisconsin’s Neighbors Recovered Over 50% Of Their Total Job Losses Between December 2010 And September 2013; Wisconsin’s 42.3% Was Just Under 84% Of The Group’s Performance. According to the report Measuring Wisconsin’s Job Gap, “As a group, the 6 peers states recovered over 50% of their total job losses between Dec. 2010 and September 2013. Wisconsin’s 42.3% was just under 84% of the group’s performance.” [Measuring Wisconsin’s Job Gap – University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, March 2014]

Wisconsin Only Created About 70% To 75% As Many Jobs As Its Neighbors Have Since December 2010. According to the report Measuring Wisconsin’s Job Gap, “My various measures generally suggest that Wisconsin has only created about 70 to 75% as many jobs as its peers have over the last 33 months. This can only be described as a far from satisfactory performance.” [Measuring Wisconsin’s Job Gap – University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, March 2014]

Under Walker, Private Sector Job Creation Stalled Relative To Wisconsin’s Neighbors

Wisconsin’s Underperformance In Creating Private, Service Sector Jobs Was Widespread, Including Jobs In Retail, Financial And Business Services, And Leisure And Hospitality Employment. According to the report Measuring Wisconsin’s Job Gap, “Wisconsin’s underperformance in creating private, service sector jobs is widespread, including jobs in retail, financial and business services, and leisure and hospitality employment. It has impacted Main Street across the board.” [Measuring Wisconsin’s Job Gap – University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, March 2014]

Report’s Author Blamed Walker’s “Disruptive Policy Shifts” For Consumer Uncertainty

McGee: “The Data Suggests That The Disruptive Policy Shifts At The Outset Of The Walker Administration Created A Lot Of Consumer Uncertainty, And A Lot Of Uncertainty In Families Across The State. Their Combined Responses Hurt Job Growth.” According to the Stevens Point Journal, “‘The data suggests that the disruptive policy shifts at the outset of the Walker administration created a lot of consumer uncertainty, and a lot of uncertainty in families across the state. Their combined responses hurt job growth … in all the areas that rely on local consumer spending, and for some reason that response, and the resulting job underperformance, just refuses to go away,’ McGee said.” [Stevens Point Journal, 6/9/14]

Methodology

Report Used Data From The Bureau Of Labor Statistic’s Quarterly Census Of Employment And Wages To Measure Wisconsin’s Job Creation Relationship To Six Other States.According to the Stevens Point Journal, “McGee used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, which contacts 98 percent of employers in the United States, to measure the state’s job creation relationship to six other states, including Illinois, Iowa, Michigan and Minnesota, between January 2001 and December 2008.” [Stevens Point Journal, 6/9/14]

McGee Created Three Separate Models To Project What Wisconsin’s Job Growth Would Have Looked Like If The State Had Followed The Same Relationship It Had Exhibited During The Base Period. According to the Stevens Point Journal, “Based on that historical data, he created three separate models to project what Wisconsin’s job growth would have looked like if the state had followed the same relationship it had exhibited during the base period.” [Stevens Point Journal, 6/9/14]

McGee Created A Fourth Model That Extended The Base Period To The Month Before Walker Took Office. According to the Stevens Point Journal, “A fourth model extended the base period from January 2001 to December 2010, the month before Gov. Scott Walker took office.” [Stevens Point Journal, 6/9/14]