Remember February 2011, when Governor Walker declared this?
Source: Capital Times
So, since Walker failed to hit his 250K new private sector jobs by January 2011 (it finally did so in December 2018), and FoxConn has so far been an enigma, we can look at how Wisconsin did in boosting the labor force — presumably pretty simple given the mobility of labor across borders.
Well, not so good.
Figure 1: Log civilian labor force for Minnesota (blue), for Wisconsin (brown), and US (black). Non-Walker period shaded gray.Source: BLS via FRED, and author’s calculations.
These labor force trends are important to remember when people hype the decline in the Wisconsin unemployment rate, and argue that it only stopped because Wisconsin unemployment pool had shrunk to such low levels. The Wisconsin rate matched the Minnesota rate at the same time as the Minnesota labor force growth rate pulls away from Wisconsin.
Figure 2: Unemployment rate for Minnesota (blue), for Wisconsin (brown), and US (black). Non-Walker period shaded gray.Source: BLS via FRED.
In other words, if Wisconsin had really enhanced its attractiveness to labor and firms, one would’ve expected faster growth in the labor force, and ambiguous effect on unemployment.
(By the way, using historical correlations, Wisconsin underperformed in terms of nonfarm payroll employment growth, as shown in this post.)