Economy and Business
Fri June 29, 2012
Wisconsin added jobs at half the rate of nation as a whole
The national economy added jobs at a rate twice as fast as Wisconsin's last year, according to new numbers from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. The numbers also put Wisconsin's job growth dead last in the Midwest.
The job numbers released Thursday are the verified version of the employer census numbers Gov. Scott Walker released early during the recall campaign. They show Wisconsin employment grew by .7 percent in 2011, while national employment grew by 1.4 percent. Among Midwestern states, Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa and Indiana all added jobs faster than Wisconsin during Walker's first year in office.
Assembly Democratic Minority Leader Peter Barca says it shows that no matter how you slice it, Wisconsin is lagging the rest of the country, ”We now know that our numbers are extremely poor.“
Barca blamed a lack of focus on jobs by Republicans.
Gov. Walker said Wisconsin's economy had not grown as quickly as it could have largely because of uncertainty created by the recall campaign. Walker said that would change with his election now over, “I think you're going to see the latter six months of 2012—you're going to see significant growth among small businesses knowing that the good things that we've done to make it easier to create jobs will be sustained.”
These job numbers were hotly contested during the recall campaign, with Democrat Tom Barrett at one point accusing Gov. Walker of cooking the books. But the actual number of jobs verified by the federal government Thursday differed by just 16 from what Walker reported during the campaign. It gets trickier when you look at jobs added. Using federal benchmarks, Wisconsin gained a total of about 19,000 jobs last year: about 4,000 fewer than the number Walker talked about during the campaign.