"Who could have predicted at this time last year that Wisconsin would experience the nation's largest percentage decrease in employment over the next 12 months?
Um, UW-Madison economist Steven Deller could have. And did.
Last March, Deller, a professor of applied economics, studied the ripple effects of Gov. Scott Walker's budget-repair bill and two-year budget proposal. Deller felt Walker's plans to balance the state's budget by cutting spending and public workers' take-home pay will slow the state's economic recovery.
In a story in the March 20, 2011, State Journal, Deller estimated Wisconsin would lose more than 21,000 jobs as public agencies and workers were able to spend less. According to the most recent numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Wisconsin lost 23,900 jobs from March 2011 to March 2012.
So take that, students who roll their eyes at Deller's lectures (you know who you are).
Deller said his prescient estimate was the result of simple economics. "You take billions out of the economy and there will be ripples, and those ripples are jobs," he said.
So, what does Deller predict for next March? He doesn't. He said the state's current political upheaval makes it impossible to get an accurate read on employment the next 12 months. I guess we will have to accept that answer, even if it is a bit like taking your chips and leaving the poker table early."