Gov. Walker talks jobs at Kronenwetter business - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Gov. Walker talks jobs at Kronenwetter business

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KRONENWETTER (WAOW) -- Business owners across the state add employees to their payrolls, as Wisconsin's job numbers inch higher for the month of June. Some said Governor Scott Walker continues his bid to keep the state open for business.

Walker said while he was on the campaign trail last year, he heard from business owners who wanted to expand but didn't feel comfortable doing it because of the uncertain economy. Now, they're doing their best to put more able hands to work.

Workers at G3 Industries make parts for many kinds of machinery. They're not just manufacturing metalwork, but also ensuring a sense of safety for anyone who uses them in the future.

"The state of Wisconsin and especially central Wisconsin really does have the finest workers available," said G3 Industries President Jim Frings.

With uncertainty across the board, many employers have had to cut back over the years. G3 is no exception. But after a few months of Governor Walker's plans in place, vowing to keep Wisconsin in business, he said it's paying off.

"A lot of employers said they were in the position to add but they weren't ready yet because they were uncertain about their future," said Walker. "We tried to provide them the kind of certainty and stability they need not only to add jobs but to keep those jobs far into the future."

"Now at least we know what's happening in the state," said Frings. "The budget is balanced. It didn't get balanced through higher taxes. It got balanced because Governor Walker decided to reduce costs instead of increasing taxes."

According to national statistics ranking states based on jobs lost versus those gained in the month of June, Wisconsin places sixth. Governor Walker said his administration continues to look for opportunities to support middle-class families with permanent jobs.

"We set a threshold where we want to be at about 185% of the federal minimum wage plus benefits," said Walker. "We want good paying family supporting jobs. Certainly that's the area we're going to focus in on with the resources we have."

For places like G3, that means adding 1/3 of their workforce over the past few months. Now their payroll supports about 175 people. Frings said instead of taking away jobs, automation actually brings new chances for improvement in the manufacturing sector.

"When we automate by bringing in new equipment or new know-how or new computer systems, we always generate new jobs," said Frings. "We can move people to higher level on different kinds of machinery and as a result we get more business. They get more jobs. They get more hours."

And with more opportunities, Frings said he gains more confidence in the future of doing business in Wisconsin.

According to reports from the U.S. Department of Labor, unemployment applications rose last week across the country. Wisconsin's unemployment rate rose to 7.6% in June, slightly higher than in May, but still falls below last June's 8.1%. Wisconsin's numbers stay below the national average: 9.2%.

This is the first time Newsline 9 went to a Walker appearance and didn't see protesters. Walker said the increase in jobs across the state is the largest in the past eight years. He said more than 39,000 jobs have been created since he took office in January.

Online Reporter: Anna Carrera

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