WAUKESHA - Want a job in southeastern Wisconsin?
Head to Waukesha County.
That’s the advice implied in a new study by the
Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance, a Madison-based nonpartisan
organization devoted to public policy research and citizen
Waukesha County is a bright spot surrounded by
counties that have seen fleeing jobs and lower incomes.
The study, titled “A Closer Look At Wisconsin’s
Economy,” shows southeast Wisconsin is struggling with job
losses and drops in manufacturing employment.
The report found that while the state’s total job
count fell 1.4 percent during 2000-12, it nosedived 5.7 percent
in southeast Wisconsin, which includes Dodge, Jefferson,
Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Sheboygan, Walworth,
Washington and Waukesha counties.
The 5.7 percent loss of jobs since 2000, which is
more than any of the other five regions WISTAX studied, included
a 27.4 percent drop in manufacturing employment, said Dale
Knapp, research director for WISTAX.
The decline in jobs does not bode well for the
area, which employs 39.8 percent of all Wisconsin workers.
Waukesha County, however, showed positive gains
in the struggling region. Since 2000, the county has seen an 8.4
percent increase in its population from 360,767 to 390,914. Its
per capita income has jumped 31.6 percent from $41,664 to
And, regardless of the job losses plaguing
southeastern Wisconsin, Waukesha County has managed to avoid
them. It’s seen a 2.1 percent increase in employment from
222,339 in 2000 to 226,993 in 2012. Average earnings per job
rose 35.4 percent from $41,102 to $55,654.
Despite the report’s findings, the 10-county
southeast remains one of the most prosperous in the state, with
per capita income of $42,068, topping both the U.S. and
Wisconsin averages and trailing only behind the south-central
But the report’s results should be a means of
discussion for state policymakers, Knapp said.
“There are still a lot of positives in this
region,” he said. “There are relatively high wages and income,
so it still has those. But it seems to be losing some steam.”