The keystone of Gov. Scott Walker‘s successful bid to become Wisconsin governor was his promise to create 250,000 new jobs in the state, but new data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate the state has actually lost ground on that front.
Now, rather than 250,000 jobs, Walker will need to create roughly 273,900 to fulfill his promise. According to the BLS, Wisconsin shed 23,900 jobs between March 2011 and 2012. It was the only state with a statistically significant percentage change in employment to report a net loss, the report said.
According to JSOnline, public sector job losses totaled 17,800, while private sector job losses were 6,100.
Of the 29 states to report a significant change in employment, Texas led the way in job creation – adding more than 245,000 jobs.
However, the unemployment rate in Wisconsin dropped from 7.6 percent to 6.8 percent over the same period of time. The state’s unemployment rate is still below the national unemployment rate of 8.2 percent.
The discrepancies between the state’s job loss total and its unemployment rate is due to BLS data originating from two different surveys, and a drop in the unemployment rate reflects fewer people looking for work.
With a historically significant recall election on June 5, Democrats were quick to pounce on the latest BLS statistics Tuesday and labeled Walker’s governorship thus far as a failure.
“Walker’s jobs record is a total failure, and this is what happens when you pursue ideology instead of focusing on jobs,” stated Democratic challenger and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in a statement. “The nation is experiencing economic recovery, and our neighbors like Illinois are adding jobs. Yet, Wisconsin remains an island of job loss. It’s clear this governor would rather put an extreme, partisan agenda ahead of Wisconsin’s economy, and it’s why we need a new governor on June 5.”
Added fellow Democratic challenger Kathleen Falk: “Every report card that comes in for Gov. Walker shows he’s failing Wisconsin.”
“I am the only candidate with a jobs plan that invests in the manufacturing opportunities only Wisconsin has to create jobs and move us forward. While Wisconsin sadly continues to lose jobs under Gov. Walker, during my 14 years as county executive, our county had the highest job growth in the state – nearly 30,000 jobs.”
The Walker campaign didn't respond to requests for comment Tuesday. However, in a press release sent earlier this month, the Republican governor's campaign said most of state’s job losses occurred in Milwaukee during Barrett’s watch. The Walker camp blamed Barrett for a 27 percent increase in unemployment in the state’s largest city.
“As the mayor of Milwaukee, a city with rampant unemployment, Tom Barrett’s number one priority should be encouraging job creation in his city," Walker campaign spokeswoman Ciara Matthews said. "Instead, he shows a complete lack of leadership by spending his days campaigning for governor for a third time while offering no answers as to why he has been silent on the crucial issues facing the state.
The other top Falk and Barrett are the top Democrats running for governor in the May 8 recall primary.