Jobs Report Shows Positive Big-Picture Trends, But A Dismal-Looking April


Governor Scott Walker’s administration released numbers showing that Wisconsin added 32,000 private sector jobs in 2012.

A new set of estimates also shows the state lost more than 22,000 jobs in April.

The 32,272 jobs added from 2012 is pretty close to a “hard” number. It’s based on a census of unemployment insurance records from nearly all employers in the state.

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It will be impossible to compare Wisconsin’s growth to other states using this metric until late June. But Department of Workforce Development spokesman John Dipko says it matches up with tax collections and other trends that are positive for Wisconsin: “All economic indicators show Wisconsin is creating jobs.”

That said, the job estimate for the month of April of this year was by far the worst for the state of Wisconsin since Governor Walker took office. It showed Wisconsin lost 22,600 private-sector jobs in April, a huge drop for a monthly report. That number is seasonally adjusted.

Department of Revenue economist John Koskinen says he thinks this year, unseasonable conditions threw it off: “That survey week, we were having high rainfalls all across the state, way below normal temperatures.”

But the monthly survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 8,500 jobs, suggesting that even under a best-case scenario April was likely a bad month.

Looking at the bigger picture, it now appears that Wisconsin has added more than 62,072 private-sector jobs in the first two years of Walker’s term as governor. Center on Wisconsin Strategy labor economist Laura Dresser says that’s still a fraction of the 250,000 jobs the Governor promised: “That’s half the term of course but only a fourth of the jobs of the 250,000 that was sort of promised by the Walker administration.”

Dresser says more importantly, the state still has fewer jobs today than it did in December of 2007 when the Great Recession officially began.