WI Job Growth Still Anemic

Friday, June 17, 2011 at 12:27 AM by

The new figures for May employment are out, and they show that Wisconsin is still struggling economically. Just 900 jobs were added statewide in May, down from 3,000 in April, which was also a lackluster showing. Let’s hope that this spring’s very slow pace of job growth is just a temporary pause from the somewhat better performance over the first quarter of the year (+24,000 WI jobs), rather than an indication that the ongoing housing bust, the not-so-gradual end of federal stimulus spending, and cuts in other federal spending are beginning to take all the wind out of the modest economic recovery.

Fortunately, the latest data point doesn’t necessarily signify a sustained trend – because if it did, a growth rate of 900 jobs a month would yield a timeline of about 23 years to reach the 250,000 new jobs pledged by Governor Walker. (See our blog post in early May for a more thorough review of the rather mixed news about job growth over the first quarter of the year.)

In related news — the Legislature is wrapping up work today on a budget bill that will impose a one-week waiting period for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, and thus far has not allowed the state to take $89 million of federal money for extended jobless benefits. (See our June 14th blog post for more about those UI issues.)

Tamarine Cornelius and Jon Peacock

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