Stable finances, business confidence and low unemployment create optimism
(Madison, Wis.) – Despite uncertainty caused by anemic economic conditions and compounded by anti-growth federal policies, the state of Wisconsin business is strong, according to the head of the state’s largest business association.
Kurt R. Bauer, president/CEO of Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce (WMC), said the state’s stable fiscal condition, an unemployment rate below the national average and the business community’s support of pro-growth state policies have improved the state’s business climate and created optimism.
“The bottom line is that optimistic businesses hire and expand; pessimistic ones don’t,” Bauer said today in front of 450 business leaders during WMC’s annual State of Wisconsin Business luncheon in Madison.
Bauer noted that Wisconsin ended 15 years of carrying multi-billion dollar budget deficits. “We now have a surplus and a record amount in our state’s rainy day fund,” he said. Bauer also said that Wisconsin’s bond rating was upgraded at a time when many states’ ratings have fallen and that Wisconsin’s pension system is well funded.
He credited Act 10, Governor Scott Walker’s landmark collective bargaining reform, for saving taxpayers $2 billion, while also preventing mass layoffs of public employees. Walker and the Legislature have also passed tax, lawsuit and regulatory reforms during the 2012-13 and 2011-12 legislative sessions.
Wisconsin’s unemployment rate has dropped more than 2 full points since January 2011 – from over 9 percent to under 7 percent today – and is below the national average, according to Bauer. He blamed unsteady global economic conditions and “wrongheaded” federal policies for acting as “powerful headwinds” to job creation.
But of the jobs being created in Wisconsin, Bauer noted that a significant number are in the manufacturing sector. “That’s good for two reasons. First, manufacturing jobs pay on average 30 percent above the median. Second, one factory job creates 2.5 to 3.5 jobs in other business sectors.”
“That contrasts favorably with many states where more part time jobs are being added than family supporting ones,” he said.
In referencing WMC’s most recent membership survey, which showed that 94 percent of the state’s job creators believe Wisconsin is heading in the right direction, Bauer said he was confident in saying that “the state of Wisconsin business is strong and getting stronger.”
For Further Information Contact:
Kurt R. Bauer, (608) 258-3400
Jim Pugh, (608) 219-0157