The Streak is Over: Wisconsin Loses 4,300 Private Sector Jobs in March


After two months of job gains, I had a feeling the latest job numbers delivered by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) wouldn’t be good. The monthly figures are compiled by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) but Wisconsin’s numbers are often released ahead of time by DWD Secretary Reggie Newson. The better the numbers, the sooner Secretary Newson tends to release them.

Not so this month. The BLS is due to release March, 2012 data for all the states tomorrow. As the days came and went with no early release by the DWD, It was pretty clear we were in for bad news, and here it is:

After two months of job gains, Wisconsin lost 4,300 private sector jobs in March, 4,500 jobs overall.

Wisconsin experienced a net loss of 20,600 non-farm jobs in 2011, but had made some gains in January and February. With the new March figures, and with revised figures from January and February, the Scott Walker administration can now boast that there are 9,800 fewer jobs in Wisconsin than there were when Walker took office.

I would encourage everyone to read the DWD press release issued today, just for laughs. While there is nothing funny about a struggling economy shedding jobs, the carefully-phrased way in which Secretary Newson applies lipstick to the pig that is the Walker jobs record is nonetheless quite entertaining. He highlights the unemployment rate, which dropped slightly to 6.8%, but if the state is losing jobs at the same time the unemployment rate is dropping, it means people have moved out of state, or retired, or found work in border states like Illinois or Minnesota while still residing in Wisconsin, or have stopped looking for work.

Then there’s this…

A total nonfarm decline of 10,200 since December 2010 is entirely due to a drop in government jobs over this time frame.

Cuz, you know, those government jobs weren’t staffed by real people, so they don’t count.

Scott Walker’s pre-emptive tweets today are even funnier…

WI private sector jobs up 15,600 since start of 2012; unemployment rate down to 6.8% (lowest its been since 2008)

Strong job creation predicted by WI employers: 87% say they’ll add jobs in 2012

Put simply: If the economy is losing jobs, it is not recovering, no matter how one plays with the statistics, and no matter how many employers want to add jobs in the future.


Giles Goat Boy

I have over half a century of unconnected experiences, including military brat; graduate of Watertown (Wisconsin) High School; attendance at various colleges culminating in a degree in computer science; husband; father; manual laborer; computer programmer; amateur singer; backyard gardener; and as of February 2011, a hard-core political activist fighting back peacefully and sarcastically against attacks on Wisconsin's working families and the middle class. 


  4 comments for “The Streak is Over: Wisconsin Loses 4,300 Private Sector Jobs in March

  1. April 19, 2012 at 11:50 pm

    I don’t know if it’s related per se, but as a public employee family, March was the first month that we really felt the squeeze from the paycheck my husband took. His contract expired at the end of last year and more significant changes to staffing levels, overtime, etc started taking place in February. Since they pay two weeks behind when you’ve actually earned it, it was like a slow slide. I know we’ve spent less every paycheck since.

    Is it possible, if nothing else changes that we’ll see corresponding losses as other employee contract groups come off contract?

    • Giles Goat Boy
      April 20, 2012 at 1:18 am

      mamaraby, I think you hit the nail on the head. Our family took a big hit starting last fall due to a renegotiated contract at my wife’s public sector job. Multiply four or five hundred dollars a month times thousands of employees and there is less and less demand for goods and services. More private businesses then fail or lay off employees, taking even more money out of the marketplace. It’s a snowball effect that is only going to get worse as contracts expire, as you pointed out. And was it all predictable by anyone who took a basic course in economics.

      • Heiner
        May 30, 2012 at 12:04 am

        The problem you’re missing is this: government is an expense. We need it, but more is not better–the rest of the citizens have to work to pay for it.

        If there are too many government workers, it’s best for everyone for them to find work as ordinary citizens. That way they make a good living, and help pay for the government we do need (instead of adding to the expense).

        Whenever you spend money on things you don’t need, you have less for things you do.

        Everyone benefits from a government that’s as lean and efficient as it can possibly be.

        • May 31, 2012 at 11:56 pm

          “As lean and efficient as it can possibly be” – We could agree that government should be lean and efficient. But how lean, how efficient, and who benefits from the agenda? I don’t think government is something that should be gutted for the sake of enriching some corporations. It can and should serve the people that pay taxes into it and we should ALL pay taxes into it – – that means corporations don’t get a pass in the way that Walker’s benefactors like ABC corporation do. Walker went too far with his agenda and in a fashion that was authoritarian in nature. The worst point in his extreme agenda, in my opinion, is privatizing of public education K-12. That would enrich Betsy DeVos, Rupert Murdoch and others who have investments in online charter schools and especially devastate rural schools. Right now the cuts in state aid and the inability of rural and poor schools to raise property taxes is causing mayhem that is squeezing schools in the direction of private services or closure. By the way – honest question: Who will babysit all the kids sitting in front of their charter school classwork at home while mom and dad are at work? Or is this part of the plan too – because money “isn’t important for women” they will stay home? [that’s the line Glenn Grothman and Tom Tiffany repeat] And here’s 1 more question only a little tongue in cheek: Is this online charter school thing some sort of social engineering from the right wing?

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