"The rest of the nation is moving upwards. We're one of the few states moving downward. There's something wrong," said economist Steven Deller of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The United States as a whole has added private-sector jobs 23 months in a row, including almost a half million jobs in the past two months.
Wisconsin has lost more private-sector jobs (an estimated 27,700) than any state in the country since the middle of last year (July through December), according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Only one other state, Missouri, is close, losing about 19,000 jobs in that stretch.
Statewide, 311 of 424 school districts, or 73% of districts, reported cutting teachers this year.
Overall, public schools in Wisconsin are employing 1,446 fewer teachers this year than they did in the 2010-11 school year. This represents a 2.4% loss in full-time equivalent (FTE) teaching staff at a time when student enrollment is stable.
The largest cuts statewide were to school librarians and career and technical education, special education, and reading teachers. For the current school year, there are 414 fewer elementary teachers in public schools, which is a staffing cut of about 2% statewide.