Wisconsin loses jobs, even as the unemployment rate goes down.
Wisconsin’s jobless rate drops to 6.7 percent in April from 6.8 percent in March, while the state lost nearly 6,000 net jobs. The latest numbers released by state labor officials come with skepticism as the historic recall election approaches.
Democratic Party Chair Mike Tate criticizes what he calls Governor Walker’s “pattern of reckless abuse of facts.” Tate says, “Wisconsin lost another 6,200 private sector jobs. This obviously adds to Governor Scott Walker’s terrible record of job loss … The real numbers … come a day after Scott Walker’s political side show meant exactly to distract from today’s numbers.”
Walker’s administration released figures on Wednesday — before the federal government could review them — showing the state gained around 23,000 public and private jobs during 2011. Department of Workforce Development officials say the information comes directly from employers so it’s more accurate than data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which surveys only a fraction of employers.
State Democrats filed a complaint with the Government Accountability Board accusing DWD of being in cahoots with Walker’s campaign to get the numbers out. DWD Secretary Reggie Newson denies that claim. “We have a responsibility at the DWD to provide information to the taxpayers, the job creators, the job seekers, and the employers of the state of Wisconsin to make sure they have accurate, complete data information to make informed decisions. Absolutely not; there was no collusion or collaboration with the campaign … period.”
Secretary Newson says it’s clear Wisconsin added jobs last year. “Based not on a survey of 3.5 percent of businesses, but on reports filed by some 160,000 Wisconsin businesses.”
The preliminary April totals will undergo further revisions in the next several weeks. “That’s why we can’t depend on this inaccurate information,” Newson says.
AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report 2:22