How do you assess something so wrapped up in ordinary, everyday life as ‘the economy’ when the way that people feel about it as much about feeling as it is about facts?
Well, you take the feelings out of it. And look at the data. By that measure, there are lots of reasons to feel good about the state of Wisconsin’s economy during the gubernatorial term of Wisconsin Democrat Tony Evers and Democratic President Joe Biden.
Feelings aside, let’s look at the data:
- Jobs: Wisconsin’s economy has added 72,100 jobs since the start of last year; including 13,700 manufacturing jobs. Those job gains have been accompanied by a falling unemployment rate, from 4.5% in January of 2021 to just 2.8% today.
- GDP: Wisconsin’s real gross domestic product (GDP) is booming – growing by more than 6% in the last quarter of 2021. That’s more than 8% better than the 4th quarter of 2020, during the depths of the pandemic, and four times more than in the 4th quarter of 2019.
- Small Business: 2021 saw more new small business starts in Wisconsin than any year since 2005; small businesses account for nearly half of all economic activity in the U.S.
- Poverty: Wisconsin’s supplemental poverty rate has fallen to 5.4% as of last year, down from 9.1% in 2018.
How individuals feel about the economy matters. Ensuring families feel economic security is essential to that feeling. And by that ‘measure’, along with what’s happening in the stock market, it’s not surprising that confidence in the state’s economy isn’t sky high.
But when you just look at the numbers, it’s hard not to think confidence should be higher.