Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Gov. Walker's victory dance misses the beat

Last week Governor Walker claimed that Wisconsin was responsible for half the nation’s monthly job growth.

Republican Party politicians and operatives have run with Walker’s numbers, arguing they prove that his program of corporate and investor tax cuts and reduced regulation is working.

Let’s put Walker’s jobs victory dance iin perspective.

Several states; Texas (+32,000), California (+28,800), Michigan (+18,000), Minnesota (+13,200) and Massachusetts (10,400) had more job growth than Wisconsin

Using the Bureau of Labor Statistics data Walker touted, Texas was responsible for almost 200% of net job growth in June, California 150%, Michigan 100%, Minnesota 65% and Massachusetts slightly more than 50% .Nor was Wisconsin’s monthly percentage increase among the nation’s largest. Alaska experienced the largest over-the-month percentage increase in employment (+1.7 percent), followed by North Dakota (+1.2 percent), Vermont (+0.9 percent), and South Dakota (+0.8 percent).

In fact, Wisconsin was one of only 9 states that reported statistically significant over-the-month unemployment rate increases in June.

South Carolina experienced the largest increase (+0.5 percentage point), followed by Alabama, Arkansas, and Illinois (+0.3 point each) and Maryland, Montana, North Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin (+0.2 point each). The unemployment rate did not increase in 41 states.

 Wisconsin lost nearly 171,000 jobs during the Great recession. It has gained back 50,000 over the last year and a half, about 30%.

These numbers illustrate what a useless, misleading and politically motivated statistic Governor Walker and DWD used in claiming half the nation’s job growth.

It is useless, misleading and politically motivated because it creates a distorted perception of the state’s job creation record for overtly political purposes-promoting Walker and his economic program.

More importantly, there is ZERO evidence that Wisconsin’s June job growth has anything to do with anything that Governor Walker or the current legislature has done. Economists recognize that there are lags between the adoption of economic policy, its implementation and the policy’s impact. Given the reality of policy lags, there has simply not been enough time for Walker’s initiatives to have had the impact that the Walker administration claims.

The creation of 9,500 jobs is a positive development. But it hardly justifies the Governor’s jobs victory dance.

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