April 23, 2014

Democrats pan job creation numbers

Wisconsin continued to trail the national rate for job creation, according to the latest federal figures. Governor Scott Walker says the numbers are cause for optimism, while Democrats say they show the state continuing to lag. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the state added 24,305 private-sector jobs between March 2012 and March of this year. Analysis of the figures in the Bureau’s Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages show that number is equal to a 1.1 percent increase in employment, and puts the state 34th in the nation on job private sector job creation.

Walker said the BLS numbers show the state “headed in the right direction,” and “making significant progress.” Walker said the numbers put the state at 22nd in the nation, while Democrats said the 34th ranking is more accurate, and that the state continues to lag.

“Wisconsin lags much of the nation in job growth because Governor Walker and legislative Republicans have spent the past two and a half years undermining workers, public schools and people who need health care instead of focusing on jobs and improving economic prospects for middle-class families,” said Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha).

“The numbers do not lie when it comes to pinpointing the cause of Wisconsin’s continued economic recovery breakdown. Prior to Walker’s first budget, Wisconsin was in the top half of the country for job gains for five consecutive quarters. It is no coincidence that immediately after Governor Walker signed this budget into law that Wisconsin spent the next seven consecutive quarters in the bottom half,” said Senate Minority Leader Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee).

Walker’s office claimed the BLS report contained positive signs for the state’s economy:

  • · 22nd in the nation for private sector jobs created (24,305).
  • · 16th in the nation for average weekly private sector wage growth.
  • · 14th in the nation for total construction jobs crated (3,543).
  • · 13th in the nation for total manufacturing jobs created (3,577).

In addition, Walked said the data does not include Wisconsin’s record-setting spring/summer of economic growth:

  • · According to the BLS, 28,100 private sector jobs were created between April 2013 and July 2013, the best total since records began in 1990.
  • · In August, Wisconsin was in the top ten for private sector job growth according to the BLS.
  • · The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia’s coincident index ranked Wisconsin 2nd in the nation for growth over the last three months. This is the strongest growth in 25 years and it’s the best ranking for Wisconsin in history. Wisconsin’s growth was best in the Midwest and bested the national growth rate.

But Barca’s office also cited Forbes magazine, which this week placed Wisconsin 41st in its 2013 “Best States for Business” rankings, behind states such as Nebraska (6th), Minnesota (8th) and Iowa (12th). Looking to the future the updated Forbes list also projects Wisconsin will be 45th in the nation in job growth through 2016, according to Barca’s press release.