While the second half of 2011 has seen the state lose nearly 15,000 jobs, Governor Scott Walker says Wisconsin is still making progress on job creation. Walker says “after three years of losing 150,000 jobs, we’ve had not quite, but just under 20,000 net new jobs” this year.
Growth has turned negative since July though, with federal figures showing Wisconsin has continued to lose jobs since Walker’s first state budget was enacted. The Governor says the financial problems in Washington and instability in Europe, where Wisconsin exports many of its products, have played a major part in that downturn.
Preliminary figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show the Badger State lost more the 14,600 jobs in November. It’s the second month in a row the state was projected to lead the nation in job losses, even though figures in October were later reduced by almost 75-percent. Walker admits it’s not ideal, and things will need to turn around if he’s going to fulfill his campaign pledge of helping the state add 250,000 jobs during his first term in office.
Despite the jobs lost in recent months, Walker also points out that the state’s unemployment rate continues to drop and remains below the national average. Wisconsin’s unemployment rate is currently at 7.3-percent, compared to the national average of 8.6-percent.
As for how to reverse the slide seen in recent months, the Governor says it will remain a focus of his administration. He says talking to small businesses has shown him the need to improve access to skilled workers, capital, and streamlined regulations. Walker remains hopeful that proposals in the Legislature to expand venture capital programs and streamline the permitting process for an iron ore mine in northern Wisconsin will help accelerate job creation.
AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:08)