New numbers from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics show Wisconsin losing ground nationally when it comes to job creation.
Wisconsin had the 38th slowest private sector job growth in the nation, for the year ending in September…falling from 31st in a similar report released three months ago. The BLS figures show Wisconsin created about 27,500 jobs during the 12 month period, which was an increase of about 1.1 percent. During that same time frame, the national increase was 2.3 percent.
Democrats were quick to criticize the numbers as a sign that the national economic recovery is passing Wisconsin by. Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) said that “Instead of investing in a pro-growth agenda to expand economic opportunities and create jobs, Republicans have dug a massive $2.2 billion budget hole and failed to keep their promises to Wisconsin families,” while Assembly Democratic Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) said the GOP should stop “wasting time on partisan power grabs and divisive social issues” and agree to work with Democrats on policies that will put Wisconsin back on the right track.
Governor Scott Walker’s administration was quick to point out that more recent jobs numbers show Wisconsin’s unemployment rate fell to 4.8 percent in February, its lowest level since July of 2008.
In a statement, Walker spokeswoman Laurel Patrick said “Wisconsin’s economy is growing and we are moving in the right direction. When Governor Walker took office, unemployment was at 8.1 percent, it’s now down to 4.8 percent; the lowest since July 2008 and below the national rate of 5.5 percent. Governor Walker’s policies are working and our unemployment rate is down for the right reasons. In February, we saw the best monthly gain in more than a decade with 13,600 jobs created. Also, Wisconsin’s employment reached a new record high with 2,969,400 employed workers. Our total private jobs exceed the pre-recession high by 11,000, according to the CES numbers.”
Those figures are based on monthly jobs data the state reports to the federal government, which tend to fluctuate. Walker repeatedly saidon the campaign trail in 2014 that the long term BLS numbers are more accurate, since the are based on a survey of most Wisconsin employers.