Daily Bread for 9.4.23: Labor Day 2023

 Good morning.

Labor Day in Whitewater will be sunny with a high of 91. Sunrise is 6:23 AM and sunset 7:23 PM for 13h 00m 12s of daytime. The moon is a waning gibbous with 74.1% of its visible disk illuminated.

On this day in 1888, George Eastman registers the trademark Kodak and receives a patent for his camera that uses roll film.

Erik Gunn writes Report has a mixed Labor Day outlook for Wisconsin workers:

The state’s monthly jobs reports hit a new record of more than 3 million in July, continuing to surpass Wisconsin’s peak number of jobs before the COVID-19 pandemic crushed employment through the summer of 2020.

In the months that followed that initial pandemic crash, Wisconsin’s job growth shot ahead of the rest of the U.S., according to the report. Since February 2022, however, it has fallen behind the country as a whole while still on a trajectory toward record job numbers this year. 

“Given the different rates of recovery, the national economy recovered to the pre-pandemic jobs threshold a year before Wisconsin did,” the report [from the Center on Wisconsin Strategy, COWS] states.

Leisure and hospitality workers were hardest hit by job losses early in the pandemic, with their number of jobs cut in half. They have rebounded dramatically, but still hold fewer jobs than before the pandemic. 

The nature of those jobs, with “low wages, insufficient and volatile hours and few benefits” remains a challenge, the report adds, but nationally those conditions appear to be improving. 

At the same time, however, the report finds “troubling trends in Wisconsin” for other job sectors. Information jobs have fallen by 8.3% since February 2020, just before the pandemic, while nationally the sector has grown 5.7%. Professional and business services jobs have grown 1.6% in that period, just a fraction of the 7.4% growth they have had nationally. Government job growth is also behind national trends.

“Taken together, weakness in these sectors — which tend to have high job quality and jobs for college graduates — presents an economic development challenge for the state,” the report warns.

See State of Working Wisconsin 2023. 

The fundamental mistake a generation of Whitewater policymakers at the Whitewater Community Development Authority have made is thinking that capital projects are the sine qua non of economic development. That’s false (whether ignorantly or mendaciously false). These bankers, landlords, public relations men or lobbyists (an occupation more confession than boast), and longtime councilmembers have held this city back. (After all, ‘It’s possible, but unlikely, that there are any parents who say “Dear God, let our son grow up to be a lobbyist.”‘)

The measure of a thriving economy is productivity gains, reaching across the society, and expressed by consequence as gains in individual and household income. Whitewater’s last-generation types have failed in this key regard. 

America and Wisconsin are doing better than Whitewater because our aged generation of local development men have done worse than others in America and Wisconsin. 

Our next generation can do much better.

SpaceX Crew-6 splashdown:

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