Daily Bread for 1.22.24: Wisconsin’s Favorable Employment Statistics

 Good morning.

Monday in Whitewater will be cloudy with a high of 33. Sunrise is 7:17 and sunset 4:55 for 9h 37m 18s of daytime. The moon is a waxing gibbous with 89.9% of its visible disk illuminated.

Whitewater’s Urban Forestry Commission meets at 4:30 PM and the Police & Fire Commission at 6 PM. The Whitewater School Board’s Policy Review Committee meets at 5:30 PM, and the full school board enters closed session shortly after 6:30 PM with open session scheduled at 7 PM.  

On this day in 1957, the New York City “Mad Bomber,” George P. Metesky, is arrested in Waterbury, Connecticut and charged with planting more than 30 bombs.

Employment levels remain positive for Wisconsin. Erik Gunn reports Wisconsin unemployment remains low in December as jobs continue to grow:

Wisconsin’s monthly employment snapshots finished the year with a new record for the number of jobs and an upbeat assessment from the state’s labor department.

A survey of employers projected a total of nearly 3.03 million jobs in Wisconsin in December 2023, according to the Department of Workforce Development (DWD).

Based on a separate survey of households, DWD projected an unemployment rate of 3.3%, the same as in November 2023. The unemployment rate calculates how many people are not working in the total labor force, which consists of people who are working or actively seeking work.

The data show Wisconsin employers and workers are “just continuing the trends we saw all year,” said DWD’s chief economist, Dennis Winters, at a media briefing Thursday. “And the way things are shaping up for 2024, we expect the same thing.”

The employers survey counted a total of 3,026,500 nonfarm jobs in Wisconsin in December, a gain of 80,000 from a year ago.

There is, however, a requirement to capitalize on the state’s improving outlook: it takes high-quality leaders and ideas to make the most of good times. 

Whitewater has been in this situation before, in 2020 before the pandemic, when local men looked around at a positive national and state economy and bemoaned better times had not reached Whitewater.

See Whitewater’s Still Waiting for That Boom:

“We’ve just had one of the most booming economies that this country’s seen in close to 60 years. And we’re not at the table. We’re not playing. We’re not out there.”

Well, yes. There was a national boom, uplifting many cities, but it passed by Whitewater. What did Whitewater get after the Great Recession, years into a national boom? Whitewater received a designation as a low-income community.  (The gentlemen speaking, these ‘Greater Whitewater’ development men, were by their own accounts at the center of local CDA policy during most of the years that the state and national boom ignored Whitewater.)

Leaders then were responsible for having positioned the city poorly. Once again: it takes high-quality leaders and ideas to make the most of good times. 

Fire breaks out at Russian gas terminal in Baltic Sea port:

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New Attendee
5 months ago

I agree with the article’s emphasis on the importance of strong leadership in using economic trends to benefit the community. Looking back at the last decade in Whitewater, the leadership approach, especially in dealing with issues like declining university enrollment and community development, was short-sighted and overly focused on the interests of a few. There was more emphasis on maintaining a rental economy rather than on broad community improvement.

However, the past year has shown promising improvements. The approval of two new housing developments and the introduction of the Aldis grocery store indicate a move towards improving the lives of Whitewater’s residents, beyond narrow interests.

The quality of our elected officials has decreased, particularly last year, with too much attention on lawyers, personal conflicts, and unproductive issues. Yet, the current officials now have a chance to bring stability and professionalism to the common council. With capable current members and the potential for a stable new coalition, there’s an opportunity to appoint skilled people to vacancies in the governing body and on boards and commissions. This could significantly improve Whitewater. Our town needs ongoing professionalism and strategic planning to prosper.

The biggest mistake would be to let self-interested individuals continue to sway our community’s direction. These individuals need to be held accountable. This isn’t about personal conflicts; it’s about ensuring our leaders prioritize the community’s interests. Whitewater can only achieve its full potential and effective governance by confronting these issues openly and honestly.