Suburban Job Growth in Wisconsin Was Bad Under Trump—Even Before the Pandemic



By Pat Kreitlow

October 26, 2020

Think tank analysis shows how the Obama recovery was being allowed to fizzle out in the suburban counties of key battleground states.

There are a lot of areas in which Wisconsin is different than fellow presidential battleground states Arizona, North Carolina, Florida, Michigan, and Pennsylvania. But all six states have suburban areas where an analysis shows job growth was faltering even before the pandemic and is nowhere near recovered as President Donald Trump asks voters for a second term.

Job statistics reviewed by the center-left think tank Third Way show suburban job growth during former President Barack Obama’s second term dwarfed what happened under Trump in five of the six swing states. Only Arizona saw comparable job growth in the period from January 2017 to February 2020. 

Wisconsin was not only last in suburban job growth among the six battleground states, it was the only state where there was no job growth at all prior to the pandemic. 

Suburban Job Growth in Wisconsin Was Bad Under Trump—Even Before the Pandemic
Source: Third Way

During Obama’s second term, suburban counties in Wisconsin averaged 1,477 new jobs per month. In Trump’s first three years, those counties lost an average 199 jobs per month. And once the pandemic period is added to Trump’s tally, suburban counties in Wisconsin lost 1,443 jobs per month.

As Trump came into office, there were 31,830 unemployed residents of Wisconsin’s suburban areas. As of August, the number had nearly doubled to 60,094.

Similar conditions occurred in Wisconsin rural and urban areas.

According to Third Way’s statewide job growth figures, there were 102,752 unemployed as Obama left office. In August 2020, under Trump, statewide unemployment was 185,857.


  • Pat Kreitlow

    The Founding Editor of UpNorthNews, Pat was a familiar presence on radio and TV stations in western Wisconsin before serving in the state Legislature. After a brief stint living in the Caribbean, Pat and wife returned to Chippewa Falls to be closer to their growing group of grandchildren. He now serves as UNN's chief political correspondent and host of UpNorthNews Radio, airing weekday mornings 6 a.m.-8 a.m on the Civic Media radio network and the UpNorthNews Facebook page.



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