The nation is currently undergoing a slow, but steady, recovery from the Great Recession. In 2010, Scott Walker promised Wisconsin would be at the forefront of that recovery by creating 250,000 jobs. Four years later that promise is infamous, Walker isn’t even halfway there more than three years into his term, an ever present reminder of his failure to create jobs.
In his first term as governor, Scott Walker has failed miserably at protecting the economic security of the middle class and providing opportunity for more to join the middle class. As the state continues to create jobs at half the rate of the national average, families in every corner of the state are struggling to keep up with bills and put food on the table.
The most recent quarterly jobs data ranks Wisconsin at 35th in the nation in job creation. Walker’s administration touts that ranking as an indicator of success , but the adjusted quarterly jobs data shows that Wisconsin actually fell from 34th to 35th in the nation. Walker’s cherry-picked measurements spin the data to give the illusion of economic improvement, but when looking at the entire picture one thing is clear; Walker’s jobs failure is even worse than previously thought. A certain lowlight of the latest jobs report is data on the state’s biggest and most important economic sector: Manufacturing. Over the most recent 12-month period, Wisconsin actually lost nearly 700 manufacturing jobs, and gained zero total private sector jobs in January, the same month Walker claimed the state’s economy was doing “dramatically better”.
The state’s manufacturing industry once provided jobs that increased economic security for thousands of working class households. Communities in Milwaukee, Racine, and Kenosha especially benefited from the steady employment and family sustaining incomes the industry provided. In Scott Walker’s Wisconsin, manufacturing jobs go by the wayside, while food-service continues to be one of the few growing industries. Walker adamantly opposes raising the minimum wage in Wisconsin or at the federal level to help struggling families, but the jobs data shows minimum wage waitstaff jobs are often their only viable option.
When the governor promised to create new jobs in Wisconsin, few thought he meant mostly low wage positions that leave people underemployed and forced to work more than one job just to keep the lights on. In the last year of the governor’s first term, Wisconsin families are still struggling to make their dollars stretch, and few would agree with Walker’s assessment that the state is “still doing much better than we were doing previously.”
Wisconsin’s jobs picture is a far cry from when Walker took office - the state held an 11th in the nation job growth ranking in January 2011. Four years later, its apparent that Walker had no real plan to create jobs when he was elected and is completely out of touch with the needs of everyday people in the state.
Attention that should have been given to a serious economic policy that invested in education, innovation, and infrastructure, instead went to ensuring political favors for corporate allies, election rigging, and a stealthy pursuit of a radical social agenda. By any standard, Scott Walker hasn’t lived up to his promise on job creation. Wisconsin has moved backwards during his first term and is falling further behind each day.
What Walker sees as success, working class families know is a failure. People know they shouldn’t have to work two jobs at minimum wage just to keep their heads above water. Working class families won’t be fooled on Election day; all of the spin and political gimmicks in the world can’t put food on the table or pay the bills. People remember when Wisconsin was 11th in the nation in job creation and had more than 70,000 jobs than we have in the state today. We all remember better times, and we know that Wisconsin can do more to get people back to work.