A Washington think tank blames unfair trade for much of Wisconsin's job losses. Robert Scott with the liberal leaning Economic Policy Institute in Washington says Wisconsin lost 141-thousand jobs last year, due to the non-oil U.S. trade deficit. Nationwide, displaced manufacturing workers who do find new jobs were making eleven to thirteen percent less money.
A weaker U.S. dollar has been good for Wisconsin manufacturing exports, but Scott says there's a problem. "The credit crunch threatens to cut that off," he says. "If U.S. firms can't get access to the short term credit they need to hire workers and buy materials, they're not going to be able to mke the exports needed to grow our way out of the trade deficit." According to the EPI analysis, Wisconsin was the fifteenth hardest hit state for trade deficit related job losses in 2007. Scott says the feds need to get tough with countries like China, whose undervalued currencies are driving the deficit.