The jobs that Wisconsin lost in November -- 11,700 -- have reminded everyone that Gov. Scott Walker promised to create 250,000 jobs in his first term in office.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the state has added 16,300 jobs since Walker took office. It needs to add more than 233,000 for him to keep his promise. But Wisconsin has lost jobs every month since Walker's budget went into effect in late June, so the trend does not look good. Why is the state losing so many jobs?
Laura Dresser, a labor economist with the think tank Center on Wisconsin Strategy (COWS), says the state appears to have taken a hit recently on manufacturing jobs. The manufacturing companies in Wisconsin export products to Europe and Asia, which have both been hurt by the global recession, the meltdown of the euro, and the Japanese earthquake and tsunami.
"My read of the data is we had some manufacturing gains the first six months of the year. That has turned pretty hard," she says. "We're losing in manufacturing now, and we're not adding anything else. On top of that, we're losing public-sector jobs."
While Dresser stops short of blaming Walker for the losses, she adds that his first budget hasn't helped, with about 350,000 public-sector employees around the state facing an 8% decrease in income. "That means every community is dealing with less money," she says. "That makes it's harder to be a restaurant in a community where people have less money."
Dresser doesn't see things getting any better in 2012. "It looks like another year of limping along."