Wis. drops to 44th in private sector job creationWalker, a Republican, promised in the 2010 campaign, and has reiterated since, that he will create 250,000 private sector jobs by the end of 2014. He was about 212,500 jobs short of meeting that target at the end of 2012.
By: By Kevin Wang, Associated Press, Superior Telegram
MADISON (AP) — New quarterly figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Thursday showed Wisconsin has dropped to 44th in the nation for creating private-sector jobs, a ranking Republicans lawmakers say is deceiving and Democrats contend is the result of Gov. Walker's failed economic strategy.
The data covered the year that ended in September, and reflected a recent steady decline. Wisconsin ranked 42nd for the year that ended in June, and 37th for the year that ended in March 2012.
The report, based on a survey of 96 percent of all public and private American non-farm employers, said other Midwestern states are performing better than Wisconsin. Indiana ranked 11th, Michigan 13th and Ohio 24th.
The state Department of Workforce Development also released new figures that show Wisconsin's unemployment rate was 7 percent in February, unchanged from January. The data showed the state added 8,800 government jobs last month but lost 1,000 jobs in the private sector. The information is based on a survey of only 3.5 percent of the employers in the state, though, and is subject to significant revision.
Walker, a Republican, promised in the 2010 campaign, and has reiterated since, that he will create 250,000 private sector jobs by the end of 2014. He was about 212,500 jobs short of meeting that target at the end of 2012.
In an emailed statement, Walker's spokesman Cullen Werwie said the governor has been devoted to creating Wisconsin jobs since he took office in 2011, citing his visits to manufacturers in Rhinelander, Green Bay and Richland Center as efforts to promote job growth.
Walker's 2013-15 biennium state budget proposal includes recommitting to a $75 million tax credit program to encourage business expansion and job retention; setting aside $25 million to invest in startup companies through a venture capital fund; adding $11 million to support a marketing program that promotes Wisconsin as a place to do business; and investing nearly $6 million in programs that support high-potential entrepreneurs and businesses.
Walker also is teaming up with Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in a rare show of bipartisan support in hopes of stimulating business growth in the city. The political rivals are backing a new entrepreneurship model aimed at encouraging new ventures.
Republican leaders in the Legislature argued the state's economy is improving thanks to economic reforms they enacted.
Wisconsin now has a projected $484 million budget surplus. Walker has proposed $343 million income tax cut in his budget.
"While the jobs aren't growing as fast as we might like, we have set the state up for success for years to come." Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald's spokesman, Tom Evenson, said in an email.
But Senate Minority Leader Chris Larson, D-Milwaukee, said the report proves the governor is failing.
"Wisconsin's middle-class families continue to suffer from this administration failing to sit down at the table with all parties to build a true middle-class budget that supports small businesses, invests in workforce training and fights for a stronger future," Larson said in an emailed statement.
Rep. Fred Clark, D-Sauk City, likened Walker's optimism on jobs to a coach's pre-game speech.
"But when the score comes in — it's time to get real," Clark said in a statement. "Wisconsin has been losing the jobs game. "
Information from: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, http://www.jsonline.com