By Collin Roth
The unemployment rate in Wisconsin dropped to 7.1%, the lowest rate since December 2008 when unemployment stood at 6.5%.
Despite left-wing celebrating that private sector job growth has seen a decline over the last six months (perfect timing for the recall effort), the net gain of jobs in Wisconsin stands at 13,500 for the year and the unemployment rate has dropped from 7.4% in January 2011 when Governor Walker took office.
Of course, the unemployment rate does not tell the entire story of the health of Wisconsin’s economy over the last 12 months.
Last February, Governor Walker proposed and passed a Budget Repair Bill (Act 10) despite union protests and solved a $3.6 billion budget deficit, putting the state on solid fiscal ground for the first time in over a decade. Property taxes are dropping all over the state and public employees have not seen massive layoffs.
Wisconsin has even kept its credit rating intact unlike its neighbor Illinois which chose to raise taxes, lay off public employees, raise tolls by 88%, and still saw Moody’s downgrade it’s credit rating causing the Wall Street Journal editorial board to call Illinois “The Greece Next Door.”
While job growth in Wisconsin is not where everyone would like it to be, the success of Wisconsin’s budget reforms and aggressive attempts to lure businesses to Wisconsin are having a positive effect. Surveys from the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce show that job creators overwhelmingly believe Wisconsin is heading in the right direction (a whopping 94% of those surveyed) and Wisconsin jumped 17 places in Chief Executive magazine’s Best/Worst States For Business.
Governor Walker’s goal of creating 250,000 jobs in his first term may not be completely on track given the tepid economic recovery, but the net-gain of jobs and a balanced budget in year one is good for all of Wisconsin.