Monday, February 23, 2015

Insane rush in WI to cut wages in proven low-wage state

[Updated from 3:11 p.m. Sunday] It's flat-out, counter-productive crazy that Walker and the Legislature are fast-tracking a bill that will cut worker wages and take home pay (the so-called right-to-work bill) when data published in October show that job creation in the state is already concentrated in low-wage categories and the trend has accelerated since Walker took office.

In other words, the GOP is about to make a low-wage situation here even worse.

Here is the data and a key conclusion, according to a UW-Milwaukee economic institute:

As the following charts and tables show, there has been a marked increase in the share of Wisconsin employment in low-wage occupations since 2000, with a significant acceleration in the growth of jobs in low-wage occupations during the post-recession recovery period of 2010-2013. The number of jobs in “middle-wage” occupations has contracted consistently over the past decade (especially during the Great Recession), while jobs in high-wage occupations, after increasing between 2000-2007, have declined steadily since 2007. 
The findings render Walker's broken promise to create 250,000 new jobs even more hollow AND put into sharper relief his poverty-enforcing opposition to raising the Wisconsin minimum wage above the $7.25 hourly rate that is increasingly being abandoned by other states.

All so Walker can play Bad-As* to Iowa Tea Partiers and the ideologues running the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce and Koch-style rightwing interests.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great points Jim!

And when you look at the fastest growing job classifications listed in the report: nurses, nurses aids, personal assistants, cooks, food services workers, ushers and attendants, etc., a very clear picture of the state's future emerges. These are all occupations associated with care for the elderly, and the state is slowing changing its jobs base from manufacturing to focus on care for its retirement population that can't or won't relocate.

It is my belief (although I have little data to back it up at present) that what we are seeing is the retirement of Baby Boomers (in the wake of their parents' retirement) that is providing a consumer group that still has income (many, if not most, have pensions; all get SS; and they are covered under Medicare--they represent a consumer group with significant purchasing power.

The big problem is that those jobs listed (with the exception of nursing) will not have pensions, and will need to rely on SS (beginning at 67+), and Medicare. These reduced retirement sources combined with the downward spiral of wages in remnant traditional manufacturing jobs will leave Wisconsin's economy a shadow of itself in 25 years.

Outside of Dane and Pierce counties, and the Milw. collar counties, the rest of the state will see average population ages over 55 as the young flee.

If you want to see the future of Wisconsin, you should probably go to Manitowoc. Its population is the same size now as it was in 1971 (even the county hasn't grown), except that the average age has gone up by nearly 20 years. The largest employers used to be industrial companies (Mirro, National Metal Furniture, Barger Boats, The Manitowoc Company, and Anhueser-Busch) now the largest employer is the local hospital and most of the industrial firms have vanished.

Dr. Morbius