Counting our chickens before they're hatched

Rep. Gordon Hintz - Where will Wisconsin find the workers?

The shiny object in front of lawmakers’ eyes when talking about the Foxconn proposal is the potential of new jobs.  “13,000 direct jobs!  Another 22,000 indirect jobs!”

 

All of these claims ignore the reality in 2017 Wisconsin faces. If the jobs do materialize, where will the workers come from?

 

The important statistic when considering the availability of labor is the “prime working age” population, which economists classify as people between 25 and 54 years old. Wisconsin had 105,000 fewer prime working age people in 2015 than it did in 2010. Some of the sharpest decreases occurred in Jefferson, Kenosha, Ozaukee, Racine, Walworth, Washington and Waukesha counties. As the state with the 15th oldest population in the U.S., Wisconsin’s prime working age population is expected to continue to shrink through 2040 to just 33% of its total population.  This is down from 41% in 2010.

Wiscontext - What Foxconn Means For The Great Lakes Compact

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At the turn of the century, a Canadian company named Nova Group sparked outrage across the Great Lakes region when it proposed to withdraw millions of gallons water from Lake Superior water and sell it in Asia. In the short term, this led Canada to crack down on freshwater exports.

Foxconn or Fox-Con - The Foxconn story in Wisconsin

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We will continue to update this Storify story as news comes in. Please comment on this if you know of something interesting we have missed.

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Foxconn: The Hype and the Small Print

Kathleen Vinehout

Great News! A big tech company called Foxconn is coming to southeast Wisconsin and bringing with it a lot of new jobs. The new company will build a big factory and make flat screens for computers.

The Governor tells us the company will create 13,000 jobs that pay nearly $54,000. Other businesses will benefit because the company will buy things from Wisconsin businesses.

But, as Paul Harvey used to say, “Here’s the Rest of the Story.”

Counting our chickens before they're hatched

Foxconn Workers

All of Wisconsin is apparently agog over the Foxconn plant announcement that is coming this afternoon. Still, color me skeptical. Rumors are that Wisconsin is offering a huge tax break to Foxconn in return for building the plant, and the state has certainly paved the way by stomping on unions and generally making the living wage a past dream, something that Foxconn is certainly going to appreciate. But rumors abound that the state is offering somewhere between $100,000 and $300,000 per job in tax "bounty" for the plant. I'm not sure that the state will be able to actually agree to pony up a tax break that big, particularly in view of the current inability to pass a state budget even without the complication of a huge tax break for business. It's not at all clear where this leaves the local governments that will still need to provide services for the plant, their employees, and more.