Late surge in jobs still leaves Scott Walker well short of promise

Gov. Scott Walker held a campaign rally at K.I. Inc., a furniture maker in Green Bay, Wis., on Nov. 3, 2014.
Gov. Scott Walker held a campaign rally at K.I. Inc., a furniture maker in Green Bay, Wis., on Nov. 3, 2014.

Gov. Scott Walker fell short when it came to his top 2010 campaign promise -- that the state would add 250,000 private-sector jobs in his first term.

But he would have finished much closer had there been four years with the jobs growth seen in 2014 -- especially the final four months of the year.

State employers added an estimated 53,400 jobs in 2014, pushing the total for his four-year term to 146,795. That’s about 59 percent of the total Walker promised as a candidate.

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 full years in office. We 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.

We declared the jobs Promise Broken in September 2014, when it became clear that it would be mathematically impossible to achieve the promise.

Now that the state Department of Workforce Development has released its jobs report for December 2014 (issued on Jan. 22, 2015), we’re able to calculate a rough total for Walker’s four-year term.

The latest report said state employers added an estimated 7,600 jobs in December 2014. The report also revised upward by 1,500 the count for November. The December tally will be revised in February 2015 and the final figures for 2014 will be available in late spring.

The preliminary calculations for December show that 2014 was the strongest year for hiring -- by far -- in Walker’s term. The year finished with four consecutive months of strong growth, where employers added a total of 40,600 jobs.

That’s more than were added in the full year in any of the first three years of Walker’s term.

The strong hiring trend corresponds with a national jobs recovery, and improvements in the housing market and other segments of the economy.