With Gov. Chris Christie heading west to campaign for Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, state Sen. Barbara Buono took a moment this week to inform New Jerseyans that the Badger State is leading the nation -- in job losses.
A little more than a year after signing a bill restricting collective bargaining rights for most public employees -- legislation that set off massive protests and attracted national media attention -- Walker is facing a recall election on June 5. The primary for the recall election is next Tuesday.
As Christie prepared to visit Wisconsin the next day, Buono, a Democrat representing part of Middlesex County, issued a news release on Monday criticizing the two Republican governors.
"Our governor seems more concerned with one man’s job in Wisconsin than the legions of unemployed constituents at home," Buono said in the news release. "It’s not as if Scott Walker has any advice to offer. Wisconsin lost more jobs over the past 12 months than any other state."
PolitiFact New Jersey discovered that Buono’s statistic is on target. From March 2011 to March 2012, Wisconsin lost more jobs than any other state, according to seasonally adjusted data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Here’s how the labor figures break down.
We normally analyze job growth in both "net" terms -- the actual number of jobs lost or gained -- and "percentage" terms.
By both measures, Wisconsin finished in last place for over-the-year employment changes -- driven in large part by the loss of government jobs.
In March 2012, Wisconsin had 2,730,600 jobs, representing a loss of 23,900 jobs, or 0.9 percent, since March 2011. The state’s net loss of jobs far surpassed the next highest amount of 3,500 jobs lost in Mississippi. The March 2012 figures are preliminary and subject to change.
Nearly 75 percent of the jobs lost in Wisconsin during the past year occurred in the public sector, which accounted for 17,800 of the job losses.
Steven Deller, a professor of Agricultural and Applied Economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, argued that the political dynamics in the state has negatively impacted the business climate.
"In addition to the massive budget cuts at the state and local level the political dynamics has cast a black cloud over the business climate of the state," Deller told us in an e-mail. "People/businesses are starting to say ‘stop the political war and work together’. This is independent of party affiliation."
In case you’re wondering how job growth in New Jersey compares with the rest of the nation, here are the Garden State’s statistics:
From March 2011 to March 2012, New Jersey gained 38,300 jobs for an increase of 1 percent. That growth represents increases of 35,200 private-sector jobs and 3,100 public-sector jobs.
For total employment changes among all 50 states, New Jersey ranked 15th in net terms and 24th in percentage terms.
In a news release issued Monday, Buono offered this statistic about the Badger State: "Wisconsin lost more jobs over the past 12 months than any other state."
According to federal labor statistics, Buono’s claim is accurate. From March 2011 to March 2012, Wisconsin lost 23,900 jobs, or 0.9 percent, placing the state in last place for both measures.
We rate the statement True.
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