Officials Optimistic on Wisconsin Job Creation Despite July Setback

MacIver News Service | August 18, 2011

[Madison, Wisc…] Wisconsin’s economic recovery stumbled in July as jobless numbers increased and the state lost jobs in the private sector.

According to data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased to 7.8 percent and the overall seasonally adjusted jobs numbers declined by 8,200.

Durable goods manufacturing increased by 2,000 jobs while wholesale trade, accommodation/food services, and mining/logging showed modest increases. However overall the private sector shed 12,500 jobs.

“Wisconsin is not immune to the national economic slowdown this summer, and we are seeing the effects of the national economy in our July numbers,” Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Secretary Baumbach said. “The wild market fluctuations during the debt ceiling negotiations, the European debt crisis and other factors contributed to a great deal of uncertainty, which may very well have affected Wisconsin’s job numbers given our state’s ties to the national economy.”

Despite the negative July numbers, overall job creation is still on the rise in Wisconsin. Estimated net employment over the last 12 months grew by nearly 30,000 or 1.1 percent with half of that growth coming from the manufacturing sector. Meanwhile, in the last year the state government shed 6,600 jobs.

Bob Borremans, executive director of the Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board, told the MacIver News Service the numbers are surprising given the activity he’s seen at county job centers.

“We’re seeing more and more job orders. We’re seeing more and more requests for job fairs,” Borremans said. “I’m surprised.”

Borremans mentioned there are several big expansions in south central Wisconsin that are either hiring now or will be within the next few months including Mercy Hospital, Kettle Foods, and Stoughton Trailers.

In fact, Job postings on have exceeded 33,000 this week. Manufacturers and other employers are hiring. The July unemployment rate, while increasing, remains below the 8.2 percent level of a year ago

“I would have thought things would have been a bit more optimistic,” he said. One explanation Borremans offered was the recall elections this summer might have given some employers reason to pause.

“There was a lot of uncertainty [in Madison], but I don’t know if that’s what’s being reflected on the ground,” he said.

One Wisconsin lawmaker said the increasingly common use of class warfare rhetoric, the out of control federal spending, and the continuing badmouthing of job creators by politicians here and in Washington is hurting job creation prospects everywhere.

“Nothing scares business more than seeing politicians in America, including the President, behaving like we are Greece,” said Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend). “America has been the respected, stabilizing force in the world for 70 years now and the fiscal irresponsibility in Washington, coupled with the demonization of job providers by public officials at any level, is simply outrageous and needs to stop.”

State officials found reason for optimism even in the disappointing numbers.

“Wisconsin is experiencing a manufacturing-led recovery, with a net growth of 15,000 manufacturing jobs this year, representing more than half of the net 28,700 new jobs created in the private sector,” said Baumbach.

Wisconsin Governor Walker has set a goal of helping Wisconsin create 250,000 private sector jobs in his first term. Despite July’s decreases, Wisconsin still has seen a net increase of 28,700 private sector jobs so far this year