I've only lived in the city of Milwaukee for six years. But ever since I landed here, the city has bled jobs. In fact, Milwaukee lost over 11,000 jobs since my first day of graduate school at UWM in 2001. Maybe this is why I've been particularly struck with recent employment data which shows the creation of 2,191 net new jobs in the city since July of last year (see table below).
What's more, Milwaukee is outperforming the rest of the region and rest of the state in employment gains. In a previous post I detailed this historical trend which now continues in July and even shows signs of strengthening. Indeed, the city now posts a half-percentage point advantage over the statewide employment growth rate, .9% for Milwaukee versus .4% for Wisconsin.
One reason for Milwaukee's "outperformance" is Wisconsin's underperformance. Some places in Wisconsin just aren't adding jobs like they used to. The city of Madison, surprisingly, is one of those places. In fact, while Milwaukee was the state's top net gainer of jobs, the city of Madison was the state's top loser. You don't have to look too far back in the data to find a time when just the opposite was true.
What follows is a rank of Wisconsin municipalities with a population larger then 25,000.
Change in Employment, July 2006 - July 2007
|West Allis City||270|
|La Crosse City||255|
|New Berlin City||187|
|Eau Claire City||172|
|Oak Creek City||164|
|Menomonee Falls Village||161|
|West Bend City||136|
|Green Bay City||70|
|Fond Du Lac City||-7|
|Sun Prairie City||-53|
|Stevens Point City||-76|
Are there policy implications to Milwaukee's resurgence?
Sammis White of UW-Milwaukee's Workforce Development Center may have summed it up best in an article in today's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:
"You're seeing greater job growth here than elsewhere." Too often, White said, the Milwaukee area's contribution to the state's economy is overlooked.Maybe a new recognition of Milwaukee's economic might will cause the rest of Wisconsin to see our city and region as an increasingly important weapon to use in our state's battle to gain traction in a new global economy. Arguably, this could change the nature of Milwaukee's relationship with the state - less "aid," more investment.