Wisconsin’s employment-population ratio has jumped 2.5%—significantly more than the national improvement rate. Wisconsin is also gaining ground against other states. In February 2011 Wisconsin ranked 12th in employment-population ratio. It now ranks ninth.
Then there’s Wisconsin’s unemployment rate, which has also declined significantly under Mr. Walker. In March it dropped to 4.6%, the lowest since 2008, and down from 7.9% in February 2011. The rate is much lower than the 5.5% national average, and the state is climbing in the ranking of states with lowest unemployment, sitting at No. 17, up from 21st in 2011.
Some will rightly point out that the unemployment rate fails to account for people who can’t find a job and stop searching. And so a low unemployment rate is more meaningful if it is accompanied by high participation in the labor force. Since February 2011, the national labor-force participation rate has dropped to 62.7%, from 64.2%. Wisconsin’s rate, much healthier than the national average, has also declined but by significantly less, to 68.4% from 69.1%.
Wisconsin’s current 68.4% labor-force participation rate is particularly noteworthy because it represents an uptick over the past year from a low of 68.1%.