Jobs report unfavorable to Wisconsin
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Wisconsin has the dubious distinction of being the only state that’s lost private-sector jobs for six straight months.
And that raises the political and economic stakes of the state’s next unemployment report, which is due Thursday for the month of January, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Sunday (http://bit.ly/yVX39J ).
In contrast, the country as a whole has added private-sector jobs 23 months in a row, including almost a half-million jobs in the past two months.
“The rest of the nation is moving upwards. We’re one of the few states moving downward. There’s something wrong,” said economist Steven Deller of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who’s expected to face a recall election this summer, campaigned on a promise to add 250,000 new private-sector jobs.
But Wisconsin has lost more private-sector jobs — an estimated 27,700 — than any state in the country from July through December, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Only one other state, Missouri, came close, losing about 19,000 jobs in that stretch. And although Wisconsin added more than 41,000 private-sector jobs in the first half of 2011, losses in the second half of the year wiped out most of those gains.
Wisconsin also posted the biggest six-month decline in manufacturing jobs in the nation after California, despite an uptick in December. The newspaper said that’s significant because Wisconsin depends more on manufacturing for jobs than any state but Indiana, and it comes at a time when a manufacturing resurgence is helping drive the national recovery.
And Wisconsin’s neighbors are all outperforming the state when it comes to job growth over the past six months.
Walker declined the newspaper’s interview request, but he and his administration have painted a much brighter economic picture than these numbers suggest, the Journal Sentinel reported.