Phil Hauck's TEC Blog

Monday, July 8, 2013

On Wisconsin's Low Job Creation ...
Much has been said about Governor Walker's pledge to create 250,000 jobs coming out of the downturn.  During his administration, about 70,000 jobs have been added on a net basis, about half of what was lost in the downturn years prior.  Once our job creation rate was in the 40s of the 50 states, but recent improvement has us at 33rd.  Still, not good.  So, why?
First of all, Governors/Mayors/Presidents don't create jobs.  They work with legislatures to put in the environment that will foster/incent people to want to create businesses that can grow and need workers.  Or not.
So, I asked "those who know" why we're doing so poorly.
One theme is that much is now in place in Wisconsin, but it's also in place in other states ... and they are more appealing and effective.  It's a question of degree.  We're doing most of the right things, just not as well ... either due to culture or situation.
Their answers:
1.  We have a very high percentage of manufacturing jobs, which took the biggest recession hit.  Productivity increased, so they're being added back at a slower rate.
2.  We're not a Right To Work state ... meaning that if your company is unionized, that all workers must belong to that union.  24 states are, and they happen to be most of the fastest-growing.  Where would you locate a new business/office/plant?
3.  We're still not a strong state for rapid siting and permitting requirements, slowing and defeating expansion decisions regarding Wisconsin.
4. More of the jobs we create are low tech, not the higher-paying, hard-to-duplicate high tech jobs.
A recent study also noted that from a productivity standpoint, Wisconsin ranks lower.
We do have much going for us; we're focusing where studies say we should to achieve growth.  We just need more entrepreneurialism, more world-class operators.

1 comment:

  1. Phil, I was startled to see that Tennessee, where we live, was in the top 10 in job growth and that Wisconsin was in the bottom 10. We do indeed have fewer manufacturing jobs (but improving); we are a right to work state, and; we have fewer regulations re: permitting. Of course, our median household income is at least $10K a year lower than WI...but we do have the 2nd lowest cost of living in the USA...vs. WI which is ranked 28th. Interesting data... Take Care, Big Daddy Dave