More on Governor Walker’s “Wisconsin is moving in right direction”

Updated 11/6: With Governor Walker’s comments.

Recall, that was the title of Governor Walker’s op-ed about two weeks ago. Yesterday, long time residents of Madison were made aware that Oscar Mayer will be moving out:

Oscar Mayer, which has been part of Madison’s northeast side for nearly 100 years, is closing its Madison headquarters and manufacturing plant, the company said Wednesday.

The Madison Oscar Mayer facility employs 1,000 people, according to Madison Mayor Paul Soglin. Kraft Heinz Company spokesman Michael Mullen said 700 of those workers are in the factory.

Depicted in Figure 1 are the mass layoff notification statistics as of end-October for 2014 and 2015; these do not include the Oscar Mayer statistics.


Figure 1: Wisconsin cumulative mass layoff notifications by end-month, for 2015 (bold blue) and 2014 (red). Source: DWD and author’s calculations.

Additional information on the gradient the Wisconsin economy is on presented in this post (includes a longer time series on mass layoffs, normalized by employment). For an econometric analysis of where Wisconsin economic activity should be based upon pre-Walker historical correlations, see this post (warning: you have to believe in counterfactuals to understand).

Update 11/6: From Stein and Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

In the wake of the announced closure of the Oscar Mayer plant on Madison’s east side, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said Thursday he is reaching out to corporate parent Kraft Heinz Co. but declined to spell out what his administration has done since the meat processor shed jobs here in August.

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin said he’d seen no indication the state had done anything since then to keep the plant in Wisconsin — something he found mystifying.

The GOP governor said the closing was a corporate decision that had “nothing to do with Wisconsin” and that Democratic politicians such as Soglin and Dane County Executive Joe Parisi also were caught flat-footed by the announcement.

Soglin said Madison officials met with the company after the first wave of job cuts and made clear the city would do what it could to help. The state had not done anything he was aware of, Soglin said.

“Why would they ignore a job center focused on their goals that is less than two miles from the governor’s mansion? I can’t answer that question,” Soglin said.

6 thoughts on “More on Governor Walker’s “Wisconsin is moving in right direction”

  1. jonathan

    And they’re moving jobs to Illinois! From the story: “Kraft Heinz said it plans to move Madison operations to Chicago in 2016, bringing 250 jobs to the Chicago area. Mullen said 300 employees in the Oscar Mayer and US Meats Business Unit in Madison will have the opportunity to move with the business to Chicago.”

  2. Barkley Rosser

    Also some is moving to Davenport, Iowa, where a “state of the art facility” is being built (or expanded). This has apparently been in the works since Kraft Heinz took over. Needless to say, it is a real loss for Madison and Wisconsin. Supposedly Davenport and Iowa were offering some incentives. Much as I dislike Walker, this is probably a double whammy, with my old friend, Mayor Soglin probably at least as implicated, if one wants to blame this loss on local politicians. As it is, of course, Madison will probably still be doing better than most of the rest of the state jobwise, if not on its northeast side.

  3. Birch

    probably shouldn’t have canned that rail project, as Talgo moved back to Washington. Imagine how much more jobs WI could get IF it had helped create reliable Amtrak service between Portland and Chicago?

  4. Barkley Rosser

    On the rail projects, they had been supported by at least two previous GOP governors, Tommy Thompson and Scott MacCallum, as well ad Dem ones like Walker’s predecessor, Jim Doyle. But, Obama supported the rail project, so, of course, Mr. Future Presidential Candiidate Walker had to be against them, not to mention that the line he specifically dinged was to go to Bad Madison. So, poof!

  5. Maynarrd McKillen

    The GOP governor said the closing was a corporate decision that had “nothing to do with Wisconsin” and that Democratic politicians such as Soglin and Dane County Executive Joe Parisi also were caught flat-footed by the announcement.

    The translation of Walker’s evasion, for those of you unschooled in the syntactical confundities and cognitive vacuity of Weaselspeak, is as follows: “Whatever I did or didn’t do, it’s not my fault, and if it is my fault, then it’s their fault, too.”

    This non-statement, when collated with Walker’s previous non-statements, non-responses, evasions, waffles, flip-flops, verbal and written faux pas and outright lies, renders a raw score on the cognitive-moral-social maturity scale of 7 years and three months. Wisconsin’s chief executive thus reasons and acts with the sophistication of a second grader, albeit one who happens to exhibit sociopathic tendencies.

  6. Don Heavy

    I talk about Job cuts on my podcast. It is obvious that most of the higher ups only care about what matters most to them personally, not what they are responsible to care for which is the people. It has been like that forever! The people need to get it together and care for themselves the correct way. With proper investing when the factory job seemed secure, the job cuts wouldn’t be such a major blow to a ton of families. The community yes, but to individuals ,no, because they would have a nice pad to fall back on while they prepared their respective families for the next move.

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