State job growth encouraging, but nothing to get excited about yet.

Wisconsin is seeing some job growth, but like the national economy, the pace isn't exactly to people's liking.

The state is slowly headed in the right direction with 6,500 seasonally adjusted new private sector jobs, good enough to drop the unemployment rate by a tenth of a point, to 7.8%. That makes 25,000 new seasonally adjusted private-sector jobs since Jan. 1, but I hesitate to get too excited until the full impact of new 2011 taxes can be assessed.

The gradual comeback of manufacturing, and associated export growth, is no doubt a factor in what progress we've made. That's an argument for more foreign trade, ladies and gents, but we're still not clicking on all cylinders.

Wisconsin is expected to gain some lost ground in 2011 (+1.7%) and 2012 (+2.5%), but still not enough to regain the 181,000 jobs it lost in the recession, according to the state Department of Revenue (which has quite a financial stake in job and business growth). Wages and salaries are expected to rise modestly as well, but again will not reach the levels they were before the Great Recession.

We're still trending ahead of most of Midwestern neighbors, but like the national job figures, those could still stall out before year's end.

Past recoveries have been much more robust, especially when the dip was pronounced. That begs the question: Why is this taking so long?

Uncertainty is certainly a factor. Small business owners are trying valiantly to hang on, but the specter of more government imposed costs aren't helping. Many are still trying to figure out how ObamaCare will play out; others may be waiting for the President to have more Republican road blocks after the fall election.

With the right mix of business friendly policies, we'd be much farther ahead. Companies large and small have been holding their cash, but that looks only so good on a balance sheet. They are poised to break out and are looking for the right moment.

Perhaps a power-sharing national government, where two flawed political parties have enough power to check one another's excesses, will be that moment.

Anything can happen in politics in a two-month time frame, but my predicted message? Lots more Rs and lots fewer Ds means play ball between the 40-yard lines, boys and girls. It's not that people are enthralled by the GOP, but neither party has proven worthy of unchecked power.

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