Claims in the Scott Walker-Mary Burke race about jobs

Dueling claims about jobs gained and jobs lost have marked the 2014 Wisconsin gubernatorial race.
Dueling claims about jobs gained and jobs lost have marked the 2014 Wisconsin gubernatorial race.

Scott Walker’s pledge to create 250,000 private-sector jobs -- made when he was a candidate in 2010 and rated by us as a Promise Broken -- has reverberated throughout the 2014 campaign for governor. Both he, challenger Mary Burke and others have made a number of jobs-related claims. Here’s how we’ve rated some key ones.

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"We in this state saw more job creation in the last three years since I've been governor than you saw in the whole eight years of (Jim) Doyle’s time as governor."

-- Scott Walker, June 19th, 2014 in a news conference

Mostly True: Walker is right on the numbers that show Wisconsin did gain more jobs in his first three years as governor than Doyle, his predecessor as governor, did in his eight years. The blame goes in large part, though, to the Great Recession, not Doyle.

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New jobs numbers are in, and Wisconsin has "fallen to dead last in Midwest job growth."

-- Mary Burke, on Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014 in a television ad

The ad also ignores the most recent 12-month performance -- a common yardstick for economists -- that says Wisconsin’s performance improved and was better than two other Midwest states among the 10 states she cited.

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Mary Burke’s "record: 130,000 fewer jobs."

-- Republican Governors Association, Sept. 23, 2014 campaign TV ad

False: That job-loss number corresponds to Doyle’s second term, not Burke’s time as head of the state Commerce Department  -- a period that saw an increase. Even with the most charitable of possible interpretations, the number is wrong.

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"(Mary) Burke’s company," Trek Bicycles, "makes 99% of their bikes overseas."

-- Scott Walker, July 22, 2014 campaign TV ad

Mostly True: The best available numbers, from Trek’s own mouth, lend credence to the 99 percent claim, as do the best educated guesses by industry analysts. So the ad’s main thrust is correct. Calling Trek "Burke’s company" is somewhat problematic, though. She held a management position there and still owns stock, but she left a decade ago and seven years before the 2011 story that yielded the 99 percent figure.

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Job creation has gotten worse each year that Scott Walker has been governor.

-- Mary Burke, Sept. 29, 2014 radio interview

False: The data says that’s not the case -- it’s been an up and down performance. And employers have continued to add jobs, albeit not at a strong pace.

Also in this series: Taxes and state budget, education, income and wages, business growth, higher education and miscellaneous items.