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Sluggish hiring in Wisconsin

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UNDATED (WSAU)  Experts blame Wisconsin’s slow employment growth on high taxes, a lack of job training, and a vulnerable manufacturing climate. The federal government said yesterday that Wisconsin’s total private sector employment grew by only 1.5-percent for the year ending last June. That’s the ninth-lowest growth rate among the 50 states – and the numbers are based on the most accurate data available, a nearly complete survey of U-S employers.

Richard Longworth of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs says big auto-making states like Michigan and Ohio are recovering at higher rates because their job bases were lower during the recession. Longworth also says Wisconsin has suffered from a lack of venture capital for creative new industries that could replace ones that are dying. Other analysts have long said that Wisconsin’s strong manufacturing base leaves the state vulnerable to competition from Asia, where workers get paid less.

Analysts also point to Wisconsin’s taxes for its slow job growth, as well as the so-called “skills gap” – in which employers cannot find qualified candidates for thousands of jobs.

Republican Governor Scott Walker says he hopes to address the skills gap, taxes, and the venture capital shortfall over the next two years.

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