New data shows 1.5 percent job growth in Wisconsin
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Gov. Scott Walker's administration issued a pair of reports Thursday that gave seemingly conflicting views of Wisconsin's economy, with one showing job growth over the past year and the other reporting steep losses in October.
The more positive news came from a quarterly jobs report based on a survey of 96 percent of Wisconsin businesses. The more negative data came from a monthly report that's based on a survey of just 3.5 percent of businesses and subject to significant revisions in the months ahead.
The quarterly report covers April through June. It shows the state added 35,379 private sector jobs between June 2011 and this past June, for a growth rate of 1.5 percent. Government jobs increased by a little over 2,100 during the same period.
The other monthly report, based on the smaller survey sample, showed the state lost 6,000 private sector jobs and 1,500 government jobs in October. The unemployment rate, which is based on yet another survey of just 1,450 households, dropped from 7.3 percent in September to 6.9 percent in October.
Walker has placed greater emphasis on the quarterly report, which economists have also said is a more accurate reflection of how many people are employed in the state.
Based on the monthly data, the state lost 13,700 jobs between June 2011 and this June. The quarterly data shows a swing of more than 49,000 jobs during that same 12-month period.
Walker drew heat in May when he released the quarterly data for the first time before it had been vetted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. He did it just weeks before he stood for a recall election and his Democratic opponent Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett accused him of cooking the books to help his re-election efforts.
But when BLS released the final numbers, there were nearly identical to the preliminary figures Walker had put out.
Thursday's release of the quarterly numbers is the second time since then that Walker has put the numbers out before BLS, a move that does not allow them to be compared with other nearby states.
The BLS is not scheduled to release all of the states' data for the April-June quarter until Jan. 8. Wisconsin's numbers for the most recent quarter can then be compared with all other states and the national average.
Walker promised to create 250,000 private sector jobs over four years. He created 27,811 in his first year in office.