CAP TIMES: New WMC ad makes misleading claim about WI economic growth

September 26, 2013
Steven Elbow
news photo

Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce today replaced their spaceship Wisconsin ad with a more conventional paean to Scott Walker.

In the new offering — which since WMC recently purchased more than $400,000 in air time ($828,000 since Sept. 11) you're sure to see if you watch local news — job announcement headlines flash across the screen as a narrator says:

"Wisconsin is creating lots of jobs, hundreds of jobs, thousands of jobs. So many jobs that the Federal Reserve Bank now rates Wisconsin in the top two states in the country for economic growth."

On screen, however, are the words, “Wisconsin ranks 2nd in the U.S. in economic growth potential."

The word “potential,” while not spoken, is important. A video called "The Fed explains real versus potential GDP," has this to say about potential GDP:

"Potential GDP is the value of all the things that we had the ability and desire to produce in our economy, even if we didn’t produce all of it. If GDP is different that potential GDP, then we have a problem. The economy isn’t employed at its full potential."

The GDP growth for Wisconsin this year isn’t available, but data released Thursday by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the state ranks 34th in job growth.

And on Wednesday, the Cap Times’ Mike Ivey reported that Wisconsin comes in at 41st in Forbes’ “Best State for Business” ranking.

A comment posted to the story Thursday morning reads: “But Forbes must be wrong. I saw an advertisement today that states Wisconsin is Number 2 in economic development (with the obligatory Thanks Gov Walker). So what is that about? What numbers does Walker use that Forbes is not aware of?”

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