Walker: Priority Is Manufacturing Job Wages, Not Numbers

Federal Numbers Show Wisconsin Lost Thousands Of Jobs From September 2015 To September 2016

Wisconsin State Capitol
Rough Tough, Real Stuff (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Gov. Scott Walker said fewer manufacturing jobs might not be such a bad thing for Wisconsin, as long as wages are increasing.

Numbers out from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics earlier this week show Wisconsin lost more than 4,000 manufacturing jobs in the 12 months leading up to last September.

Walker said Wednesday some jobs that have left Wisconsin may be coming back in smaller numbers, but they offer workers higher wages.

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“It’s not just how many jobs — it’s are those jobs paying at a significant level,” Walker said. “If we see wages go up in manufacturing, to me, that’s my ultimate goal.”

Walker said higher-paying jobs will require more skilled workers in the state.

“Overall, it’s just a different type of manufacturing – you’re going to see more and more automation,” he said. “You can have successful manufacturing companies that don’t necessarily match all those (previous) numbers.”

Walker has said workforce development is his highest priority this legislative session.