Local community groups and unemployed residents lined up outside trainmaker Talgo Wednesday, to highlight what they called the one year anniversary Governor Scott Walker turned down high-speed rail. They argue the project would have brought thousands of jobs to Wisconsin at a time when, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Wisconsin lead the nation in October when it comes to job losses. However, some argue that when it comes to job creation, the state is headed in the right direction.
Organizers of the demonstration Wednesday made headstones representing companies that have sent out layoff notices. They say more needs to be done in Wisconsin to invest in people, workers and the middle class. "We find out now that Wisconsin lost 97,000 jobs in October, while Illinois has added 30,000, and we see why: because of the backwards policies of our Governor," one demonstrator said.
The Metro Milwaukee Association of Commerce says Wisconsin is still showing growth when it comes to jobs, and that it's important to look at the big picture. They say Wisconsin is still on pace to add thousands of jobs for the year. "It's way too early to place all the burden on a couple months' trend, and say that's the long-term trend. If you look at 12 months or year-over-year trends, you get a better and more accurate indication of where we are," Metro Milwaukee Association of Commerce Research Director Bret Mayborne said.
In just the last month, Governor Walker has touted companies like Trisept Solutions and Generac that are adding hundreds of workers. The MMAC says Wisconsin is on pace to add 25,000 jobs over the course of this year, which is .9 percent growth, and they say though this is not strong growth, it is growth nonetheless.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Governor Walker said "The Milwaukee area has over 6,000 more jobs than it did a year ago. The Governor has called two special sessions to focus on jobs, and it remains his top priority."