Wisconsin Job Growth Improves, Still Lags Midwest And U.S.


Wisconsin continued to trail the nation and most of the Midwest in job creation last year, even as the state saw an uptick in private sector hiring.

The job numbers released yesterday cover 2012, and come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages.They take a long time to come out, but they’re thorough and accurate.A few months ago they showed Wisconsin 44th in the nation in private sector job growth. The numbers released yesterday showed Wisconsin ranked 33rd for all of 2012. Donald Grimes is a labor market forecaster and analyst for the University of Michigan. He says these latest numbers are more in line with where Wisconsin should be.

“My prediction is that over time, your ranking will slowly move up moving into the low 20s, relative to other states. And so I think a year from now, people will feel a lot better.”

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Private sector jobs grew by 1.4 percent in Wisconsin, compared to 2.3 percent at the national level. Wisconsin also trailed Michigan, Minnesota and Iowa in job growth, coming in just barely ahead of Illinois.

Governor Scott Walker has blamed the recalls for slower growth. Democrats have blamed Walker’s policies. Grimes says he thinks it’s more likely a case of how hard the recession hit Wisconsin compared to other states.

“You’re not one of the fastest growing states, but that’s probably because you didn’t suffer as big of a downturn, so your rebound isn’t as strong.”

Overall, the numbers released yesterday show that at the halfway point of Walker’s term, Wisconsin has added 62,082 private sector jobs. That’s about a quarter of the the 250,000 jobs Walker said he’d help create when he ran for office in 2010.