Wisconsin Job Growth Only Half Of National Average


Preliminary numbers from the Department of Workforce Development show the state added just 9,700 private sector jobs in all of 2012.

The numbers come from a total of all the seasonally adjusted employer surveys in 2012. The latest survey showed the state adding 4,500 private sector jobs in December. But overall last year, seven months of private sector job gains were tempered by five months of job losses. Labor Economist Laura Dresser with the Center on Wisconsin Strategies says it was a weak year. “Just under 10,000 jobs over the course of a year is … this is a labor market of 2.7 million jobs. There are 200,000 people who report right now that are looking for work. To add 10,000 jobs to that is really the tiniest little drop in the bucket.”

If you add the final employment numbers from 2011, the state has added a total of 39,500 private sector jobs since Governor Walker took office. That’s a small fraction of the 250,000 private sector jobs Walker promised to add during his first term.

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Dresser says the governor’s goal is a good one and would bring Wisconsin employment close to what it was before the recession started. But Dresser says progress needs to be faster, “The national economy has been slow and so hasn’t produced at that rate either. But Wisconsin’s been producing jobs at about half the national rate. And that, you know, we’ve got to see that change.”

The Walker administration no longer comments on monthly job estimates, citing their high margin of error. The administration favors a quarterly census of employers, which is more detailed but less frequent. Those numbers for 2012 won’t be released by the federal government until June.