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Mar 24, 2014
Category: Wisconsin, Jobs & Skills: Wisconsin Economy, Workers & Policy

The economic recovery continues in Wisconsin, producing a steadily increasing number of jobs in the state. New data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that Wisconsin added 6,200 jobs in January. The consistent growth is clear but not especially rapid. More than six years since the beginning of the recession, Wisconsin is far from the jobs recovery workers need.

 

Wisconsin’s job deficit now stands at 126,300. (For Job Watch regulars, the decline relative to last month owes mostly to revisions in the entire data series from BLS). Wisconsin still has 26,600 fewer jobs than in 2007 before the Great Recession. Wisconsin’s population has grown since then. Just to keep up with that growth, Wisconsin needs to add another 99,700 jobs. These two numbers added together – 126,300 – account for the current Wisconsin Job Deficit.
Job growth over the course of the recovery has been too slow to close the gap. Too many workers are still waiting to find a job or to have greater security and hours in their current job. Adding 6,200 jobs per month (as we did in January) means that recovering all of the jobs lost since 2007 would take almost two more years.

 

With some ups and downs, Wisconsin’s unemployment rate hovered around seven percent during the first half of 2013, to finally start moving down in June of last year. The January rate at 6.1 percent is the lowest since November 2008. In terms of unemployment, the Wisconsin trajectory remains on par with the recession of the 1980s. Manufacturing and construction employment, which saw incredible decline after the recession, both remain well below pre-recession levels. Manufacturing has recovered some and added jobs in the last month. Adding 1,200 jobs in manufacturing is good news in the state and makes a clear consistent, albeit slow, growth trajectory. Construction, on the other hand, continues in the doldrums. With 1,600 jobs gained in construction in January, at least there was good news this month. But we don’t yet have clear trend of recovery in that sector.

Ceri Jenkins, Adam Schepker, and Satya Rhodes-Conway | Mar 12, 2014
Category: Jobs & Skills: Workforce Development & Industry Partnerships, State & Local Policy, High Road
Every city has a food economy and most have at least the beginnings of a local food value chain. This means that every city has an opportunity to increase local economic activity, create jobs, and promote healthy, local food by helping local businesses to capture more of this market. Cities should include local food as part of their economic development efforts, and this paper will help them do that. Nationally, the trend is toward local food – cities should take advantage of this. This report, written by the Mayors Innovation Project (a COWS initiative), is a complement to the previous report, Promoting Access to Healthy, Local Food.
Wisconsin Budget Project and COWS | Feb 28, 2014
Category: COWS, High Road, Wisconsin


Income inequality continues to grow in Wisconsin and the United States, producing an ever-widening chasm between the rich and poor. Over the last 40 years, Wisconsin’s richest residents have experienced dramatic increases in income, while Wisconsinites not among the very highest earners saw their incomes stagnate or decline.


Wisconsin’s growth and prosperity are not being equally shared. The rewards of prosperity have been concentrated on the richest 1%. As a state, this should be of substantial concern, not only because of the slow or non-existent growth in incomes for the remaining 99% percent of families, but also because increasing disparity comes with substantial social costs.


All data in this report comes from The Increasingly Unequal States of America: Income Inequality by State, 1917 to 2011, written by Estelle Sommeiller and Mark Price for the Economic Analysis and Research Network. Published by the Economic Policy Institute, the report explores the evolution of top income shares at the state level and provides the figures that allow this analysis of top incomes in Wisconsin. Income figures are presented in 2011 dollars.

Laura Dresser | Feb 24, 2014
Category: COWS, High Road, Wisconsin, Jobs & Skills: Job Quality & Industry Studies, Jobs & Skills: Wisconsin Economy, Workers & Policy

This report analyzes the economic impact of a minimum wage increase to $10.10 per hour for Wisconsin workers. Increasing the minimum wage to $10.10 by July 2016 would increase wages for over half a million Wisconsin workers. Additionally, as parents see wages go up, some 234,000 Wisconsin children will see family income rise as a result. Of the 587,000 Wisconsin workers who would be affected by raising the wage to $10.10, 57 percent are women, 79 percent of workers are 20 years old or older, 47 percent of workers have at least some college education, 42 percent of workers work more than 35 hours per week, nearly two-thirds (64 percent) are in families with income under than $60,000.

 

 

Additionally, the report addresses the claim that increasing the minimum wage destroys jobs. Over the last twenty years, numerous studies have confirmed that minimum wage increases do not reduce overall employment levels. A letter signed by nearly 600 economists, including seven Nobel prize winners and eight past presidents of the American Economic Association, states that “the weight of evidence now [shows] that increases in the minimum wage have had little or no negative effect on the employment of minimum-wage workers, even during times of weakness in the labor market.” 

 

COWS Staff | Feb 06, 2014
Category: COWS, Jobs & Skills, State & Local Policy, High Road

Summary (82 pg)

Full Report (328 pg)

 

This report is based on the practical experience and struggle of elected officials and advocates from around the country in moving their communities onto the “high road” of shared prosperity, environmental sustainability, and efficient democratic government. Its goal is to arm progressive local elected leaders and advocates with a range of effective policies that, if adopted, would make a significant difference in getting on that high road. They will be able to use better democratic organization to add value, reduce waste, and capture and share locally the great benefits of doing both.

 

Watch official report release, with a discussion including COWS Director Joel Rogers, below>>
 

 

Our full report on some of this work is organized into eight areas of local government policy and responsibility:

• Economic development and job creation
• Infrastructure
• Revenue
• Job standards
• Housing
• Education
• Health
• Civil rights

Feb 03, 2014
Category: COWS, Jobs & Skills, Wisconsin, Jobs & Skills: Wisconsin Economy, Workers & Policy

After adding only 200 jobs in November, Wisconsin recovered some dynamism in December, adding 6,200 jobs, according to the latest data from the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Still, six years since the beginning of the recession, Wisconsin is far from the full recovery workers desperately need.
Wisconsin’s job deficit now stands at almost 139,800. Job growth has been so weak that Wisconsin still has fewer jobs – 41,300 fewer jobs – than in 2007 before the Great Recession. Wisconsin’s population has grown since then. Just to keep up with that growth, Wisconsin needs to add another 98,500 jobs. These two numbers added together – 139,800 – account for the current Wisconsin Job Deficit.
The slow job growth has been too small over the recovery to close the gap. Too many workers are still waiting for job growth that will help them secure new jobs or get the hours of work they need. Adding 6,200 jobs per month (as we did last month) means that recovering all of the jobs lost since 2007 would take almost two more years.

Michele Mackey, Matías Cociña, and Laura Dresser | Dec 23, 2013
Category: COWS, State & Local Policy, Wisconsin, Jobs & Skills: Wisconsin Economy, Workers & Policy

Wisconsin has the regrettable distinction of ranking among the worst states in the nation in terms of racial equality. Various aspects of the disparity – from education to jobs and income to incarceration – have been documented consistently for more than a decade. This report pulls together a range of data from public sources to make the racial disparities in the state clear. Brutal inequities in the state span measures of poverty, unemployment, educational attainment, and incarceration.

Laura Dresser | Dec 16, 2013
Category: COWS, State & Local Policy, High Road, Jobs & Skills: Job Quality & Industry Studies, Jobs & Skills: Wisconsin Economy, Workers & Policy

The Living Wage Ordinance for Milwaukee County would establish a floor on wages of $12.45 per hour for the work done in support of the public priorities achieved through county contracts, leases, and concessions. Using the best estimates of covered workers available, a new paper from the Center on Wisconsin Strategy simulates the impact of the $12.45 living wage on covered workers.

Mary Ebeling and Satya Rhodes-Conway | Dec 04, 2013
Category: Transportation
Across the country, urban freeways are at the end of their design lives, and cities are wrestling with the question of how to deal with them. Cities have the opportunity to rethink, remove, or repurpose urban freeway space, which can address environmental and social justice harm and result in significant local economic and social benefits.
 
Re-Thinking the Urban Freeway provides cities with best practices and solutions from across the country, to help cities mitigate negative freeway impacts and secure a healthy and more prosperous future.

This brief was written by Mary Ebeling, Transportation Policy Analyst with the State Smart Transportation Initiative and Satya Rhodes-Conway, the managing director of the Mayors Innovation Project and a former councilmember in Madison, Wisconsin.  
Joel Rogers | Dec 01, 2013
Category: State & Local Policy