Jobs growth heats up, November report says

Wisconsin employers added an impressive number of workers in the last two months, according to the most recent report by the state Department of Workforce Development.

Employers added 16,500 private sector jobs in November, according to the preliminary estimate released Dec. 18. The report also revised the October hiring estimate up by 6,900 to a total of 10,900.

We’ve been monitoring the jobs numbers because, in his first campaign for governor, Republican Scott Walker promised the state would add 250,000 jobs by the end of his four-year term. We declared that Promise Broken in September when it was evident the goal was out of reach.

The positive pattern of the last three months won’t change that outcome. But there has been some progress worth noting.

The latest report says the state added 27,400 jobs in the last two months. Combined with the addition of 8,100 jobs in September, the three month total is 35,500. That’s more than employers added in each of the first three full years of Walker’s term.

This year, employers added 44,300 jobs and there is one more month - December - to be counted. That compares with 29,800 in 2011, 33,872 in 2012 and 29,723 in 2013.

For our tally, we use the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, which surveys nearly all state businesses to get the most accurate picture for Walker's first three years in office. We then combine that with monthly survey data - which comes from reports gathered from a small percentage of state businesses - to provide the most up-to-date picture for where things stand.

The latest report brings the total to 137,695 jobs added since Walker took office and, for the first time, the tally exceeds 50 percent of the governor’s promise. To meet the promise, there would have to be another 112,305  jobs added in December - more than the first three years combined.

The preliminary report for December will be issued in January, and the final tally for 2014 will be available in late spring.