February 11, 2016

More jobs created, not enough

The jobless rate is better, but not enough to fulfill the governor’s promise.

Wisconsin’s unemployment rate drops to 6.7 percent. A report released Thursday by the state Department of Workforce Development says the Badger State gained 10,300 private sector jobs in November. Still, Governor Scott Walker is not on pace to fulfilling his campaign promise of creating 250,000 jobs within his first term.

The governor says, “Most of 2011 was protests, and then there were recalls, that combined with the national economy slowing down, all the concern the last few months about the fiscal cliff, and uncertainty under the Affordable Care Act. There’s a lot of reasons why we’re not on pace to hit that number — and understandable reasons.”

While that’s a legitimate explanation, he says, he’s not going to use that as an excuse for the lack of jobs. Instead, he’s fighting harder — “more aggressive and more focused.” Walker says, “That’s what we’re gonna do over the next two years, and that’s why I pushed the legislature not to bring up highly controversial issues that detract from that focus.”

The governor says he’s putting a “renewed focus” on meeting priorities that lead toward more job creation. Walker is optimistic that he still can achieve his goal, despite falling behind at the halfway mark in his term. “Trying to put a renewed focus on meeting priorities that lead toward more jobs. Creating jobs, developing the workforce, transforming education, looking at ways that we can invest in our infrastructure … I’m gonna double down on that.”

The latest job numbers are based on a survey of just 3.5 percent of Wisconsin’s employers and are subject to heavy revisions. Walker has said that he prefers job numbers based on data collected directly from the majority of employers in the state. By his count, the governor estimates 86,000 jobs were created in his first two years as governor.

Wisconsin’s unemployment rate is a whole percentage point less than the national average, at 7.7 percent.

AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report 1:59

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