A quarterly report released today by the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) shows Wisconsin created 23,321 jobs in 2011. Wisconsin employers have now put more than 33,521 people back to work so far under Governor Walker’s leadership. “With more than 33,000 jobs created since Governor Walker took office and the unemployment rate plummeting to its lowest since 2008, it is certain the governor’s bold reforms and leadership are moving Wisconsin forward,” said Walker campaign spokeswoman Ciara Matthews. “Governor Walker’s policies have helped employers put more people back to work and our economy is moving toward greater prosperity for all. In contrast, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is presiding over a 28 percent spike in unemployment during his reign as mayor of the nation’s ninth poorest city. Wisconsinites cannot afford to undo the forward progress made under Governor Walker and go backward with Mayor Barrett and his failed record.” The quarterly data issued today by the DWD is comprised of reports issued to 96 percent of Wisconsin employers (over 150,000 Wisconsin employers).
The Journal-Sentinel calls the release of this data "unusual," but admits that many economists believe the measure supporting Walker's just-released figures is substantially more accurate than other methods:
In an unusual effort to rebut bad news on the jobs front, the Walker administration is speeding up release of new numbers showing job gains rather than job losses in Wisconsin last year. The numbers come from a source familiar to many economists but one that hasn't figured until now in the state's highly politicized jobs debate heading into the June 5 recall election: the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages...Job numbers are reported in different ways, based on different sources, and it's been common throughout the current recovery for different data to tell different stories. The [new] numbers, from the Quarterly Census, tell a more positive story, one the Walker administration is in a hurry to get out. They are based on a jobs count, not a survey. Each state gathers the quarterly census data from virtually all employers in both the public and private sectors, which are mandated to share staff and wage data as part of their tax and unemployment insurance reports. That makes it a more reliable source of employment data, state officials and many economists say.
If you want to go the full wonk on this subject, watch this detailed explanation of the state's jobs picture from the non-partisan chief economist at Wisconsin's revenue division (Spoiler: Walker's numbers are sound):
Incidentally, endeavoring to do (or approximate) an actual jobs count, rather than relying on models and multipliers, is what led two economists to conclude that President Obama's stimulus "saved or created" far fewer jobs than the 'official' numbers claim -- even though those stats have a paltry low-end estimate, too. But back to Wisconsin. With the recall election three weeks away, even the DailyKos-aligned Democratic pollster PPP shows Gov. Walker with a five point lead, unchanged over last month's survey. This means that despite emerging from a contested primary and getting a burst of positive publicity, Democrat Tom Barrett has enjoyed a whopping zero point bounce against Walker. PPP also says Republican enthusiasm and intensity is outpacing Democrats' in the state. And we wonder why national Democrats don't want to touch this race with a ten foot pole. My biggest concern at this point, frankly, is that the steady drumbeat of positive news might lull some Wisconsin Republicans into a false sense of security. Organized labor and Democrats will unleash the most Hurculean GOTV effort they can possibly muster on June 5, and it will be up to ordinary citizens and taxpayers to beat back their Statist, unsustainable, outmoded designs.
UPDATE II - A new Marquette poll shows Walker with a 6-point lead and a 50 percent job apprvoal rating. The same poll had Walker up by just one point two weeks ago. This latest survey aligns almost perfectly with the latest numbers from Rasmussen (+5), PPP (+5), and We Ask America (+9). Summary: Walker's winning.
UPDATE III - Unlike national Democrats, the RGA is playing for keeps in Wisconsin. Their new ad is below -- plus, I've heard that Walker has just unveiled a spot in which he touts the jobs numbers described in this post. Video to come, hopefully. I love the aggressiveness. It's also fun to listen to Wisconsin Democrats whinge about Walker releasing the jobs data "early." This from the gang that forced an election two years early.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography