Thursday, January 19, 2012

Governor Walker's Latest Faceplant - December 2011 Job Numbers


The December 2011 job numbers were released by the state's Department of Workforce Development today at noon, and Wisconsin continued to shed jobs in December.   In the private job sector (non-farm), the job market in which the Governor promised 250,000 new jobs by January 2015, employment fell by 3,900 jobs from the final revised figures for November 2011.  This was the sixth straight month of private sector job losses by the state. After adding 41,200 jobs in the first six months of 2011, Wisconsin job creation fell off the edge of the table, with the state losing almost 28,000 jobs since June.

In the last twelve months, Wisconsin has added just  13,500 private sector jobs.  At that rate, the Governor is on pace to add 54,000 new jobs in his first term, rather than 250,000.  

Last month, DWD Secretary Newson attacked the accuracy of the Department of Labor's monthly preliminary job numbers in an effort to suggest that the job creation picture was being unduly skewed downward by the methodology applied by the Feds.  However in today's job report, Secretary Newson attempted to document this problem in a way that actually demonstrates that it is a non-issue.  Here is the table from today's report:

In only two months have the revisions been over 2,000 jobs in the private sector, once revised upward and once revised downward.  But, as Secretary Newson's criticism implicitly says, the final job numbers are what should be the principal focus, and just using the eleven months of final numbers from January to November 2011, the state has added only 17,400, or an average of 1600 jobs a month.  Extrapolated over 48 months, that is a total job creation number of just 76,000, well less than a third of the number promised in the Walker campaign.

It can be argued that this is obviously a limited slice of the 48 month pie, and that the Governor may well have put in place some policies that will see an acceleration in job creation over the next 36 months, but keep in mind that during the same six month period (July to December 2011) that Wisconsin has lost 28,000 private sector jobs, the United States as a whole has added just short of a million new jobs. Being Secretary of Wisconsin DWD can't be a very happy job right now.

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