New figures from the federal government show Wisconsin ranked 38th in the nation last year for private-sector job growth. The Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows Wisconsin created just over 35,750 private sector jobs for the year ending in December. It’s an increase of just over 1.5 percent for 2014, which was well below the national rate of 2.6 percent.

The numbers also provide a look at job growth for the first four years Governor Scott Walker was in office. The governor had pledged to help the state create 250,000 jobs during his first term, but the final total came in at just over half that figure…with the state adding only about 129,000 jobs.

Democrats were quick to criticize the numbers as a sign that the leadership of Walker and his fellow Republicans is leading the state in the wrong direction, making Wisconsin dead last in the Midwest for job creation. Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) said in a statement that “instead of focusing on creating jobs and stimulating our economy, Republicans have been focused on divisive social issues and paying back out-of-state special interest groups that support Gov. Walker’s presidential campaign.”

Department of Workfroce Development Secretary Reggie Newson said the numbers showed Wisconsin is consistent with the growth rate relative to other states, and noted that the period between December 2013 and December 2014 “was the best year of December-to-December private sector job creation since 2004.”

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