The Bureau of Labor Statistics released new jobs figures for Wisconsin today, showing a continuation of the recent pattern of sluggish job growth.
Between April and May 2012, the Wisconsin economy added just 2,600 jobs, 900 in the private sector and the rest in government. The unemployment rate increased from 6.7 percent to 6.8 percent. (This CNN Money article gives an explanation of how the unemployment rate can increase even when the number of jobs goes up.)
Wisconsin is far off the pace needed to create 250,000 new private sector jobs in four years, as pledged by Governor Walker. Since December 2010, Wisconsin has added just 3,200 private sector jobs, as shown in the chart below. In fact, if Wisconsin added private sector jobs at the same rate that it has since December 2010, it would take us over 100 years to create 250,000 new private sector jobs, according to the BLS data.
Governor Walker has argued that job growth in Wisconsin can be better measured using a different yardstick, called the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages. Those figures show moderate job growth in Wisconsin in 2011, although the pace of job creation still fell short of what anyone would like. QCEW figures for all 50 states are available only through September 2011 at this point, although when the job numbers for the final quarter of 2011 are released for all states, we'll be sure to post about it. The BLS figures released today can give a more up-to-date look at the employment picture in Wisconsin.
In pursuit of job creation, state policymakers have hiked taxes on working families, undercut the state’s commitment to education, and rolled back support for local communities. So far Wisconsin has little in job growth to show for these changes, regardless of what yardstick is used.