New report by UW researchers shows Gov. Walker’s Wisconsin is failing


Gov. Walker has failed our state. He ran on a campaign promise to create 250,000 new private sector jobs by the end of his first term. Not only did he miss his goal by a landslide, he along with his Republican allies in the state legislature have slashed the economic growth engines of the state, putting Wisconsinites on a disastrous path to the future.

Policies put in place under Republican control have continued to not create jobs for hardworking Wisconsinites but most the affects of these “bold policies” we won’t see for decades. Our state has seen the largest cuts to public education in the state’s history. Gov. Walker gave billions of dollars in tax breaks to corporations, many of whom donated to his recall campaign. Gov. Walker opposes providing relief to student loan borrowers. All of these backwards policies, are literally putting Wisconsin on the fast track in the face to the bottom.

According to a new report by the University of Wisconsin-Extension and UW-Madision, Wisconsin has a declining workforce of people with bachelor’s or advanced degrees, and that creates a large number of lower-skill jobs, which in turn spells troubling times ahead for Wisconsin’s economic future.

Other key findings from the report show that:

  • Projected job growth in Wisconsin is occurring a the high and low end of the skill distribution – jobs requiring either a high school diploma or less at one end and a bachelor’s degree or higher at the other end.
  • Despite the high growth of jobs requiring a college degree, there is a shortage of jobs available relative to the number of college-educated workers.
  • Projected job openings requiring a high school diploma or less exceed the number of appropriately skilled workers to fill them.
  • Wisconsinites must ask themselves if the current trajectory of job growth is desirable. Any policy option at the state-level should consider the long-term goals for the future.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports:

With relatively few college-educated people moving here and an economy that is generating large numbers of lower-skill jobs, Wisconsin faces a challenging future, researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Extension and UW – Madison argue in a new report.

The state’s workforce has a smaller share of people with a bachelor’s or advanced degree than that of any of its neighbors, and Wisconsin’s in-migration of such adults is among the lowest in the nation, say researchers Tessa Conroy, Matt Kures and Steven Deller.

“From the perspective of developing an educated labor force that supports both innovation and entrepreneurship,” they write in a paper published earlier this month, “the metrics presented in this report are troubling.”

The extension researchers – Deller and Conroy also are economists with faculty positions at UW – Madison in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics – are the latest to weigh in on the debate over the direction of the state’s economy.

Wisconsin enjoys low unemployment – the September rate tied Maine for 14th best in the country – but private-sector wages are slightly below average, and the state scores poorly on measures of entrepreneurship.

Occupational projections, meanwhile, suggest that Wisconsin’s economy, relatively speaking, is not on a high-skill track.

Conroy, Deller and Kures analyzed job forecasts for 2012 through 2022, placing most of the hundreds of occupations – from personal care aides to biochemists – in one of three categories based on the amount of education typically needed to enter the field.

For more on this report, visit Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.