Lake County finished 2011 with a jump in unemployment. According to the South Dakota Department of Labor, December 2011 unemployment in the county jumped from 4.0% to 4.4%. Following a relatively normal seasonal pattern at the local and state level, both the number of jobs and the number of people in the local workforce shrank.
Five years ago, the Lake Area Improvement Corporation promised it would use $2.3 million in handouts from taxpayers and donors to maintain a status-quo job creation rate of 400 new jobs over the coming five years. In 2006, the average number of jobs in Lake County was 6525. In 2011, the average number of jobs in Lake County was 6277.
In other words, Lake County had 248 fewer jobs when Forward Madison finished than it did when the program started.
Oh, but that darn recession must have thrown a monkey wrench in the Madison works, right? That's the excuse LAIC cheerleaders Jeff Nelson and Dick Ericsson offer. We've had this conversation before, but let's update my September calculations with the full workforce and employment figures for 2011:
|Comparison of labor statistics for South Dakota
and Selected Counties, 2006&ndash2011
|change in workforce||change in jobs|
Recall that the recession never actually happened in South Dakota. But whatever impacts from the national recession may have trickled into South Dakota, the statewide job tally still increased by 1.46% over the last five years. Lake County's behemoth neighbor Minnehaha County was able to grow its job count 3.45%. Even our dusty neighbor Miner County managed, like the state, to increase both its number of jobs and the number of people on hand to fill them.
During a period of growth for the entire state, Lake County saw its workforce decline 2% and the number of jobs available drop 3.8%.
This isn't spin; this is cold hard numbers. Forward Madison sent Madison backward.