Wisconsin’s unemployment rate held at 7.1 percent in April, although new numbers released Thursday show the state lost 24,100 jobs last month. Officials with the state Department of Workforce Development downplayed the numbers, citing long standing concerns about the reliability of the data they are based on and noting that they are often subject to heavy revisions. For example, numbers from March were revised upward by 1,500 jobs.
DWD economist John Koskinen blamed the cold and wet spring weather for stifling job creation in April. Koskinen says seasonally adjusted numbers show hiring in the construction, private services, and leisure and hospitality industries were all down from a year ago.
The monthly numbers were released on the same day that the state put out figures from the last three months of 2012, which show Wisconsin added 32,000 private sector jobs last year. The numbers bring the total jobs created since Governor Scott Walker took office up to 62,000.
The data is sent to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which will release a formal report at the end of June with numbers from all 50 states.
Governor Walker and the DWD have long argued the quarterly numbers are more accurate than the monthly figures because they are based on feedback from a wider range of businesses. Spokesman John Dipko says the monthly numbers have “consistently underestimated Wisconsin job creation, even after revisions have occurred.”