January job numbers were released by the Department of Workforce Development at noon today. So once again it is time for the monthly assessment of how Governor Walker is doing on his 250,000 new private sector jobs promise.
Good news to report for the economy of the state! Wisconsin added 15,700 new private sector jobs in January, and the unemployment rate fell another one-tenth of a percent from 7.0% in December 2011 to 6.9% in January. The national unemployment rate is 8.3%, so Wisconsin is doing quite well compared to the nation as a whole. 15,700 jobs is a dynamic jump, and the governor and his recall election campaign will have released sighs of relief.
Overall, however, progress on the governor's 250,000 new jobs commitment has been miniscule. Since January 2011 Wisconsin has only added a net of 900 total private sector jobs. At this annual pace, Governor Walker will fall short on his campaign promise by about 246,000 jobs.
With all the cuts in funding for government employment, at the federal, state and local levels, Wisconsin has actually lost 12,500 non-farm payroll jobs since the governor assumed office. The 900 new private sector jobs this year have been more than offset by the loss of 13,400 public sector jobs.
February job numbers come out in just two weeks, on March 22, and will hopefully show continued improvement in unemployment.