November 22, 2014

Walker blames recalls for dismal jobs report

Wisconsin is slipping in the national rankings for private-sector job creation, and Governor Scott Walker says fallout from last summer’s recall elections was a factor.

Figures released Thursday by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics show the state finished 44th in the nation for job growth between September of 2011 and 2012, and was last among Midwestern states in adding jobs. The state’s ranking dropped from 42nd in June of last year and 37th in March of 2012.

Governor Scott Walker believes the recall election he faced last June played a role in that outcome, since it created uncertainy among job creators. Walker says people can’t discount the impact that large protests at the Capitol and the recalls had on the state, and how it limited the willingness of businesses to grow.

AUDIO: Gov. Scott Walker (:15)

Walker’s comments came during a stop in Ashwaubenon Thursday, as part of a manufacturing tour of the state.

The governor says he’s less concerned about the rankings, and more focused on how many people are getting back to work. He says lawmakers are working to do that, with resources being set aside to provide property tax relief and bills already passed this session intended to boost manufacturing and agricultural industries in the state.

Democrats were quick to criticize the jobs numbers, with Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) saying citizens should not be satisfied with being 44th in the nation in anything, especially when it comes to their economic well-being.

Senate Democratic Leader Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee) said “Wisconsin’s middle-class families continue to suffer from this administration failing to sit down at the table with all parties to build a true middle-class budget that supports small businesses, invests in workforce training and fights for a stronger future.”

WHBY’s Mike Kemmeter contributed to this report.