New numbers released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate that Wisconsin’s rate of job growth remained relatively stagnant in the last quarterly reporting period.
The state saw 28,351 private-sector jobs created between September 2012 and September 2013, a 1.2 percent increase over the year.
In the same time period, the numbers show a 2.1 percent increase in job growth at the national level. Wisconsin currently ranks 35th in the nation for the rate of job creation, according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The report shows the job creation rate from June 2012 to June 2013 was identical to the following September period, indicating little improvement in job growth over time.
Among the sectors assessed by the report, Wisconsin’s manufacturing sector lost 748 jobs, or 0.2 percent, of its jobs in the latest 12-month period. On the other hand, the report showed the job rate in Wisconsin’s construction sector grew at 6.8 percent.
As legislative and gubernatorial elections approach, Wisconsin’s economy and job growth will likely be central platforms on which candidates run. Gov. Scott Walker, who has stressed his administration’s focus on job creation, is up for re-election in November.
The Department of Workforce Development’s unemployment numbers from January 2014 place Wisconsin’s unemployment rate at 6.1 percent, 0.5 percent below the national average of 6.6 percent.
Rep. Dale Kooyenga, R-Brookfield, said the steps taken by Wisconsin’s Republican controlled government have indeed spurred economic activity.
“We’ve created 103,000 private sector jobs so far with our favorable changes, but as we continue to have these pro-growth policies, you’re going to see more and more of this job growth in the coming years,” Kooyenga said.
Kooyenga cited property and income tax cuts, tax code simplification, investments and tax cuts for businesses as examples of some of the “pro-growth policies” that have been implemented, including Walker’s “Blueprint for Prosperity” tax cut which recently passed through the Assembly and is headed to Walker’s desk to be signed into law.
Sen. Fred Risser, D-Madison, said he believes the state could be taking more steps to improve Wisconsin’s economic standing, stating his displeasure with Walker’s performance and saying he has put personal political interest above the best interest of the state.
However, Risser attributed the interest rates set by the federal government and continued national recovery as factors to the state’s gradual economic recovery.
In terms of Wisconsin’s banking sector, Wisconsin Bankers Association president and CEO Rose Oswald Poels said banks saw a positive improvement in almost every major measurement category, including lending overall, when compared to where the industry was a year ago.
“While the recovery of both the banking industry and the state itself has been slow, it continues to be a steady progression in the right direction for consumers and our economy,” Poels said.
Although Democrats in the Legislature have accused Republicans of a lack of action regarding job creation legislation, the Legislature passed three bills, all of which were passed unanimously or nearly unanimously, targeting job creation efforts, including grants for technical school or job training, school scholarships and apprenticeship grants.