Guest Column from Rep. Jim Steineke - Wisconsin’s Economy is Strong

February 26, 2015

Wisconsin’s vibrant economy is catching the attention of business owners and employees nationwide. Just recently, Chief Executive magazine identified Milwaukee as one of the country’s top manufacturing locations, and Gallup rated our state’s job market as one of the best in the nation by employees.

Chief Executive magazine routinely asks CEOs to identify cities that are catching their attention for manufacturing growth. In their latest poll, Milwaukee was picked as one of the top five locations based on its strong manufacturing history, but also for its increasingly diversified factory base. Companies like Harley-Davidson, Master Lock, Badger Meter, General Electric, West Bend, Johnsonville Sausage, and Kohler all manufacture products that are in high demand.

Gallup’s annual Job Creation Index is the accumulation of responses from full and part-time workers who are asked whether their employer is hiring and expanding the size of its workforce. Workers in Wisconsin reported positive net hiring in Gallup’s 2014 report. Overall, Wisconsin was tied with Texas and Nebraska for best hiring climate, falling just behind North Dakota. Our state’s elevated ranking continues an upward trend in the Gallup poll: in 2011, we ranked 20th; in 2012, 14th; and in 2013, 9th.

Wisconsin’s job numbers also indicate that our economy is strong. The Department of Workforce Development’s (DWD) most recent Quarterly Census of Employment & Wages (QCEW) report shows an increase of 27,500 private-sector jobs from September 2013 to September 2014. Construction jobs had the largest two-year gain in over a decade, and private-sector wages grew by 3 percent over the same quarter in 2013.

Last session, Assembly Republicans cut government red tape, invested in worker training and helped reduce the skills gap, all in an effort improve the economy. This session, we continue to improve in these initiatives in an attempt to build an even stronger business climate.

Recently, we launched our Red Tape Review initiative aimed at reducing overreach and making state government more efficient. Our members are also working on a state budget that includes a significant amount of funding for workforce training, and Right to Work legislation will only continue to make our economic environment conducive to job growth.

For over four years, Assembly Republicans have made deliberate efforts to remove the barriers that keep people from securing a job. As indicated by the aforementioned data, we’re now seeing the positive results in our communities. Our goal all along has been to help everyone who wants a job to find a job, and this remains our top focus.

A strong economy is contingent upon people finding employment. As more people work, government revenues increase which means there are more resources available to keep our education system funded and our social safety nets strong. These are top priorities for Assembly Republicans which is why we will keep finding ways to help keep our economy growing.