Scott Walker is doing all he can to change the subject that Wisconsin lost an estimated 6,200 private-sector jobs in April, which is the second consecutive month of private-sector job losses in the state. The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development released the report and it’s certainly almost as bad for Walker as possibly being charged for several crimes in the imminent next actions on the FBI/John Doe investigation into his abuse of power as Milwaukee County Executive.
Sluggish job numbers have dogged the Walker administration. The governor made jobs his top priority on the campaign and vowed to help bring 250,000 jobs to the state by the end of his first term.
“These dismal jobs numbers make it clear why Gov. Walker and his partisan political cronies pushed their own unique, uncomparable jobs data three weeks before an election,” said Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca, D-Kenosha. “They knew today’s data — which is comparable — would continue to show that Gov. Walker has the worst jobs record of any governor in the country.”
A BLS report last month pointed out that Wisconsin lost 23,900 jobs in the past year, the largest percentage job loss in the country. The report found that while 27 states and the District of Columbia saw significant job increases, only Wisconsin saw “statistically significant” job losses.
Every month, the BLS releases its jobs estimate based on a poll of 5,500 Wisconsin employers, about 3.5 percent of the total. While scientifically sound, that approach this year carries a margin of error of plus or minus 9,400 jobs. So the 5,900 jobs lost last month could actually range from a loss of 15,300 jobs to a gain of 3,500.
The state has always accepted this as part of the process and rarely made any mention of the volatility. But in the past month, the administration has started taking a different tack with the numbers it helps compile.
Walker had released employment data for the fourth quarter of 2011 and fudged the numbers for political gain just a few weeks from the June 5 recall election. While that data is not to be released until June 28, Walker found a way to get a political ad released using these unreleased data numbers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has released national monthly employment survey data in the past that was later amended, with a range that was off in positive or negative directions no greater than 9,340 jobs. Walker has magically found in his unfounded, unprovable manipulation of job numbers where the BLS data was off by 57,200 in 2011. That’s off by over 40,000 jobs? It is highly unlikely and actually nearly impossible.
The scorecard: After one year of the Walker era, there were 9,485 fewer businesses than at the end of 2010, Gov. Jim Doyle’s final year in office.
It’s improved somewhat in recent months, but the total of existing entities was still down 4,338 as of April 30, 2012, compared with December 2010.
The picture is worse if you look only at Wisconsin business entities doing business here, and exclude out-of-state businesses that must register here to transact business.
Those “domestic” business entities were down 10,189 after Walker”s first year, and down a total of 5,741 after 16 months.
So the numbers have gone backward.
To be sure, it’s a small dropoff in the big picture: As of April 2012, there were 360,031, compared with 364,369 as Walker took office. That’s a 1 percent drop.
During the recall campaign, Walker and his administration have been highlighting only the new registrations and only those in 2012.
But that presents only one side of the equation. It would be like counting only births — and not deaths and departures — to track population changes.
When you look at the full picture, when dissolved businesses are accounted for, there are fewer existing business entities now than when Walker took office.