Wisconsin Republicans wrested control over the state Assembly and Senate in 2010, securing command over both bodies for the first time since 1998. Now, after seven years of Republican power in the legislature and the governor's mansion, Wisconsin's unemployment rate has dropped to its lowest point since 2000.
The state Department of Workforce Development announced in a news release on Thursday that Wisconsin's unemployment rate dropped to 3.2 percent in April, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. By contrast, the BLS marked the national unemployment rate at 4.4 percent.
"Wisconsin's unemployment rate declined to a new 17-year low of 3.2 percent as the labor force and number of employed Wisconsinites have reached new all-time highs," said Workforce Development Secretary Ray Allen. "The bottom line is Wisconsin's economy is growing and adding jobs, and our biggest challenge now is finding enough skilled talent to fill openings employers have available."
In a statement to the Washington Examiner, Wisconsin State Senator Duey Stroebel, who was first elected to the Assembly in 2011, explained, "This week's news shows Wisconsin's reforms are working."
"Things like the manufacturing and agriculture tax credit, right to work, prevailing wage repeal and tax cuts are opening Wisconsin's job market," Stroebel contended. "As the legislature debates the budget, we are shifting our focus to ensure our state has the trained workforce necessary."
Stroebel is looking most forward to helping Wisconsinites reliant on government assistance programs find ways to be successful.
In Wisconsin, a state that stands out as a historical bastion of 20th century liberalism, Democrats have been on something of a losing spree for the past seven years. Republican majorities in the Assembly and Senate are at historical highs, matching majorities from 1957 and 1970 respectively. Though some attribute the Democratic slide to gerrymandering, they've lost nearly all statewide contests as well. Even Donald Trump was able to give Republicans their first victory in a presidential contest among Wisconsinites since 1984, an indication that voters may be inching the state further from its blue legacy.
If Wisconsin continues to hit positive benchmarks under Republican leadership, the party's pitch to wavering voters will be even easier to make.
Emily Jashinsky is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.