Friday, October 24th, 2014

Walk-O-Meter

Create 250,000 new jobs

Will "get government out of the way of employers ... who will then help Wisconsin create 250,000 jobs by 2015, and as we create those new jobs, we will be able to add 10,000 new businesses.”


Subjects: Economy, Jobs

Updates

Economists say time has run out on top campaign promise

Shortly after he won the 2010 election for governor, PolitiFact Wisconsin told Republican Scott Walker that we planned to monitor progress on his top campaign promise -- that the state would add 250,000 private-sector jobs by the end of his four-year term.

Bring it on, Walker said, adding that his official web site would be keeping its own tally.

Although there is no evidence that Walker kept his own public progress report, we have been updating that promise on our Walk-O-Meter each month.

Over the past three years, the jobs tally has been an up and down mix. For instance, in eight months of 2014, five showed declines and three showed increases.

The latest monthly report from the state Department of Workforce Development, issued Sept. 18, 2014, was a mixed bag. The report said there was a loss of 4,300 jobs in August. It also revised the July count up by 2,100 jobs, for an increase of 5,300 in that month.

The result is that the state has added about 8,800 jobs this year.

For our Walk-O-Meter 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 to provide the most-up-to-date look at where things stand so far in 2014.

Our tally now stands at 102,195 jobs -- or about 40 percent of what Walker promised. You can see our monthly graphic tracking the governor's progress on the promise here.

Time is running out on this campaign promise.

There are four months remaining before the end of Walker's term. To meet the promise, state employers would have to add 147,805 jobs, or an average of 36,951 per month in each of the next four months. That's far more than have been added in any recent year.

"I don't think Wisconsin can create 250,000 jobs by the end of 2014," said Marquette University economist Abdur Chowdhury. "So Gov. Walker's electoral promise would be broken."

Chowdhury said a number of factors contributed to the state's lagging numbers. They include:

-- Most jobs in Wisconsin are created in the greater Milwaukee and Madison areas. But both these urban centers experienced weak growth in the last few years. If these two cities had grown at the average rate of other metro areas, an additional 50,000 jobs would have been created.

-- Although manufacturing growth in Wisconsin in the last few years was above the national average, manufacturing intensity has dropped. It now accounts for about 16% of employment instead of 20% a decade ago.

-- Also, the major manufacturing industries in Wisconsin include, paper products, plastic, etc. Demand for these products have dropped.

"One way to respond to these recent challenges is to diversify our manufacturing base," Chowdhury said. "The state government has not paid much attention to this area."

As it became more evident that 250,000 jobs promise would be unattainable, Walker and his supporters began to shift attention from the vow and began to parse the promise. He criticized the data. He argued the recall elections had spooked state employers. He claimed the tally was far higher than it was. He talked about how many jobs were lost under his predecessor.

And in recent campaign ads, Walker adopted a new it-is-what-it-is strategy and highlights the fact the state has added about 100,000 jobs on his watch (compared to 133,000 lost in the last term under Democrat Jim Doyle).

Walker himself has acknowledged that he has fallen short on the jobs promise. On Aug. 28, 2014, Fox News Radio host Brian Kilmeade asked Walker : " Would you admit that you didn't reach your goal" of creating 250,000 jobs?

"Oh, there's no doubt about it," Walker responded.

In May 2014, as it became evident that there has not been a massive surge in private sector hiring, we moved the 250,000 jobs promise from In the Works to Stalled.

In the three months since that change, the number of private sector jobs has fallen by 900.

We're moving this rating to Promise Broken.

(For a look at the September 2014 numbers, click here)

(Editor's note: An earlier version of this item had factored in an outdated number of jobs for 2013)

Sources:

Email, Abdur Chowdhury, Marquette University, Sept. 16, 2014

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development August jobs report, Sept. 18, 2014

PolitiFact Wisconsin Walk-O-Meter

A small increase, but not enough to put the goal in reach

Perhaps the most important number coming out of the state's July jobs report is this: 29,437.

That's how many jobs Wisconsin employers would have to add each month for the remaining five months of the year in order for Gov. Scott Walker to achieve his top campaign promise --  creating 250,000 private-sector jobs by the end of his four-year term.

That's more jobs than were created for two of the three full years that Walker has been in office. (In the year that topped the figure, employers added 33,872 jobs in 2011.)

The July 2014 report said state employers added 3,200 private sector jobs. The report also revised downward by 700 the number of jobs created in June.

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 use the monthly survey data to provide the most-up-to-date look at where things stand so far in 2014. You can see an updated version of our monthly graphic here.

The result is a total of 102,813 jobs created since Walker took office. That leaves 147,187 to go.

This promise remains Stalled.

Sources:

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development July jobs report, Aug. 14, 2014

Our tally shows more slippage in June

Wisconsin private-sector employment dipped by 1,200 in June, the latest step in the wrong direction for Gov. Scott Walker's top campaign promise.

The report, released July 17, 2014 by the state Department of Workforce Development, based on data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, also revised down by 500 the May jobs tally.

Together, that's a step backward by 1,700 jobs.

But a Wall Street Journal piece published July 18, 2014 provided a much rosier -- and it turns out very inaccurate -- outlook for Walker. More on that in a moment.

The new numbers mean state employers have added 8,500 jobs in the first six months of this year, according to our calculations. That's in addition to the 91,813 jobs they added in the first three years of Walker's term.

So the total, according to our monthly calculation, is 100,313, or about 40 percent of the total Walker promised. That leaves 149,687 jobs to go before his term ends.

In order for Walker, who is up for re-election in November, to reach his goal, the state would have to add a total of 24,947 in each remaining month of the year. That's nearly what the state added in each year in the past three years.

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 use the use the less accurate monthly survey data to provide the most-up-to-date look at where things stand so far in 2014. You can see an updated graphic that shows our tally here.

The Wall Street Journal opinion piece published July 18, 2014 presented a very different, and very jumbled view.

"Wisconsin has added 178,000 private-sector and 71,055 total jobs since the governor assumed office in January 2011," wrote Allysia Finley, assistant editor of OpinionJournal.com.

"Yet its private economy has added 80,700 jobs in just the past five months. If the private job growth continues at this rate, Mr. Walker will have surpassed his goal by 40,000 jobs at the end of his first term."

When we asked the writer about her source for the data, she replied:

"I made an egregious error punching the numbers in from the (Bureau of Labor Statistics) BLS data, such that the numbers should be 8,700."

The piece was changed July 21, 2014 -- but without any indication to the reader it had been corrected. It now reads:

"Wisconsin has added 112,000 private-sector and 71,055 total jobs since the governor assumed office in January 2011."

Finley said she used Bureau of Labor Statistics figures and also said the data was also available at the Capital Times' website, which has a feature that follows progress on Walker's jobs promise.

There are several limitations with that feature.

First, the site uses a running total of the monthly jobs, not factoring in the more accurate annual reports. Its tally says the current total since Walker took office is 112,600 -- the same figure the Journal is now using.

The Capital Times count also leaves out the first few weeks of Walker's time in office.

Instead of starting with the December 2010 numbers, the last before Walker took office, their tally starts with the January 2011 numbers. That approach misses the first few weeks of his term, and a couple thousand jobs. Had those weeks been included, the total would be 114,600.

As for our Walk-O-Meter rating, it stays at Stalled.

Sources:

The Wall Street Journal, "Team Walker channels Team Obama," July 18, 2014

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Employment Survey data

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development July 2014 jobs report, July 17, 2014

Emails, Allysia Finley, assistant editor, OpinionJournal.com

"Interactive data: job growth under Scott Walker," The Capital Times

Latest numbers show little progress on the unlikely-to-be-met goal

The big news in the June 2014 monthly jobs report didn't come in the numbers for the month of May.

The key -- at least when it comes to measuring Gov. Scott Walker's top campaign promise -- is how the gap continues to widen, making it virtually impossible for Walker to meet his pledge of adding 250,000 private-sector jobs by the end of his four-year term.

The number of jobs that the state must add each month to meet the promise has steadily grown as the year wears on. With the latest figures, that number is now 21,141 jobs per month.

That's almost twice the monthly total that was needed in January.

In the first five months of this year, the state added an estimated 10,200 jobs; that compares to 28,141 added in all of 2013.

The June 19, 2014 report by the state Department of Workforce Development said the state lost 400 private-sector jobs in May. The report also revised upward by 1,200 the April total, from 7,600 jobs to 8,800.

The monthly figures were released on the same day the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics released the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages for all of 2013 for all states. The census comes from a survey of nearly all state employers and is deemed the most-accurate jobs numbers.

Walker's administration released those figures for Wisconsin in May. The latest figures added 135 jobs to the total for 2013, bringing it to 28,141.

The latest totals show that since Walker took office, the state added 102,013 jobs. That's about 40 percent of the total in his promise, leaving him 147,987 to go with seven months remaining. You can view an updated graphic tracking our promise here.

We continue to rate this promise Stalled.

Sources:

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development May jobs report, June 19, 2014

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin posts jobs gains, still lags behind national average," June 19, 2014

Pace is not nearly enough to meet the goal

Wisconsin's latest jobs report moved sharply in the wrong direction -- especially when it comes to Gov. Scott Walker's top campaign promise.

The report continues a trajectory that suggests it will be virtually impossible for Walker to meet his promise of creating 250,000 private-sector jobs in his four-year term. This is the view of two economists who follow the state closely and two business leaders who advised then-candidate Walker to make the promise.

Here's why this promise appears headed for failure -- and why we are moving it to Stalled on the Walk-O-Meter.

The key number is 18,615. That's the net number of jobs that state employers would have to add each month for the remaining months of the year for Walker to reach his pledge. That's far more jobs than the state has added in any single month in recent years.

Last year, the state added a little over 12,000 jobs in three separate months, and the highest monthly total added since Walker took office was 13,800. There have been several months, too, where the job losses have been equally large.

The most reliable figures for job counting come from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, and those numbers are in for all of 2013. That gives us three years of solid data.

The census is highly accurate because the numbers come from nearly all private sector businesses, compared with the monthly Current Employment Survey figures which are gathered from about 3 percent of employers and are subject to considerable revision.

For 2013, the census data says the state added 28,006 jobs. That's the lowest of the three full years of Walker's term. The monthly numbers had the 2013 jobs count at 39,700, so the switch to the more-accurate census means 11,694 fewer jobs.

So, for the first three full years under Walker, the state added 91,678 jobs. That's about one third of what he promised.

In the first four months of 2014, the state created an estimated 9,400 jobs, according to the monthly tallies. While not as accurate, the monthly data is a useful  tool to give a sense of  progress. You can view an updated graphic that we use to track the governor's progress here.

If that is considered along with the annual totals, the state has added about 101,078 jobs since Walker took office. That leaves 148,922 to go.

The 250,000 jobs promise will not be met, said Tom Hefty and John Torinus in a recent article in Wisconsin Interest, a magazine produced by the conservative Wisconsin Policy Research Institute. Hefty, a retired health care executive, and Torinus, a former journalist, business owner and angel investor, led the Be Bold initiative in 2010, a series of meetings around the state aimed at improving the state's economy.

Here's the first paragraph of their piece:

"Although there has been a grudging improvement in Wisconsin's economic performance since the Great Recession, due in part to a strategic focus on manufacturing, the state will not create 250,000 jobs by the end of 2014. Neither will Wisconsin be ranked as a top 10 state for business climate. Those goals, set out by Gov. Scott Walker in 2010, remain worthy. But they won't be achieved."

Their article said the state's recovery has been modest and uneven. They said weak economic performance in Milwaukee and Madison were particularly to blame.

Marquette University economist Abdur Chowdhury said the state's economy is slowly recovering from the Great Recession. He said most of the jobs being added were in the service sector.

"In the best case scenario, given the current trend, average monthly private sector job growth in the coming months would be around 9,000," he said. "So about 65,000 to 70,000 new jobs could be created by December 2014. This would bring the total jobs created during Governor Walker's current term to around 170,000."

The state simply isn't adding jobs at a fast enough pace for Walker to meet his promise, said Brian Jacobsen, chief portfolio strategist at Wells Fargo Funds Management.

The state's average growth rate for jobs over any eight month period is 0.6 percent, he said. The the largest it's ever been for an eight-month period was 2.8 percent in 1994.

"Using that maximum rate, we'd only get about 79,000 more jobs," Jacobson said. "That's just over half of what we'd need to get to the goal."

He noted it would take an unprecedented boom -- an average of 5.14 percent growth over the remaining months  -- to reach the mark.

We asked Walker's re-election campaign for an interview with the governor about the 250,000 jobs promise. We did not receive a response.

The 250,000 jobs promise has remained In the Works on the Walk-O-Meter since we started tracking it in 2010. As it stands now, the figure seems out of reach.

We rate the promise Stalled.

Sources:

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development April jobs report, May 15, 2014

"Passing grade," Wisconsin Policy Research Institute Wisconsin Interest, May, 2014

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Working on Job Creation,"  Nov. 6, 2010

Emails, Abdur Chowdhury, Marquette University, May 16, 2014

Emails, Brian Jacobsen, Wells Fargo, May 16, May 21, 2014

U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

PolitiFact Wisconsin, Walk-O-Meter

Baby steps when giant ones are needed

Wisconsin's private sector jobs report for March contained a bit of positive news for Gov. Scott Walker. He's a little bit closer -- but has a long way to go -- to meeting his promise of creating 250,000 private-sector jobs by the end of his four-year term.

The state added an estimated 6,400 private sector jobs in March, according to the report issued April 17, 2014 by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. The report also revised downward the job count for February by a total of 2,100, leaving that month with a net loss of 3,700 jobs.

So the net change from this month's report was an addition of an estimated 4,300 jobs.

But that gain wasn't nearly enough to reverse an widening gap in the number of jobs that must be created for Walker to meet his 250,000 jobs promise.

The monthly jobs reports are based on surveys of only 3 percent of all state employers. They are preliminary estimates and subject to revision over time.

The latest report, when combined with previously released data, shows the state created an estimated 105,872  jobs since Walker took office in January 2011.

That leaves 144,128  jobs to go.

With nine months to go, the state would have to create about 16,000 jobs a month for each of the nine remaining months of the year, for Walker to meet his promise.

There hasn't been a single month since Walker took office where the state has created that many jobs. And nine consecutive months of added jobs would be pretty unusual as well.

In recent months, the reports show that private sector job creation has not accelerated. In the first three months of this year, the state added an estimated 2,700 jobs. That compares with an increase of 10,700 in the first three months of last year.

You can see our updated monthly graphic following the jobs promise here.

For now, this promise remains In the Works.

Sources:

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development March jobs report, April 17, 2014

Another month with little movement

The clock is starting to run out on Gov. Scott Walker's promise to create 250,000 private-sector jobs before the end of his four-year term.

That's one conclusion that can be drawn from the state Department of Workforce Development's monthly jobs report issued March 27, 2014.

The report contained two small setbacks for Walker. The jobs count for January was revised from a preliminary estimate of no net gain to a loss of 200 jobs. And the preliminary estimate for February was that the state lost 1,600 jobs.

The monthly jobs reports are based on surveys of only 3 percent of all state employers. They are preliminary estimates and subject to revision over time.

The latest report came two weeks after the state released a report revising monthly jobs estimates for 2013. That report shaved 4,200 jobs off the total for that year.

Here's the bottom line: In a little more than three years with Walker as governor, the state has created an estimated 101,572 private sector jobs. That leaves 148,428 jobs -- or an average of 14,842 a month for the rest of the year -- for Walker to achieve his promise. Since we've been tracking this promise, there haven't been anywhere near that many jobs added in consecutive months.

You can see an updated version of our monthly graphic tracking Walker's progress on the jobs promise here.

For now, this promise remains In the Works, but clearly the clock is ticking.

Sources:

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development monthly jobs report, March 27, 2014

Readjustments chip away at 2013 gains

The results of the state's latest monthly jobs report moved in the wrong direction when it comes to Gov. Scott Walker's promise to create 250,000 private sector jobs.

As usual at this time of year, the report contained considerable revisions -- called "benchmarking" -- to the monthly employment reports from 2013.

The monthly reports are estimates based on surveys of about 3 percent of state employers. Over time, more reliable data becomes available. Last year, benchmarking saw 14,100 jobs added to the monthly tallies for 2012.

The revisions for 2013 smoothed out the peaks and a couple of valleys in several months.

In January, an increase of 12,400 jobs was erased. The January number is now a negative 1,200 jobs. Similarly, a loss of 20,800 jobs in April -- the largest single monthly jobs decline in years -- was pared back to a loss of only 5,600.

In the end, the changes put the state's 2013 private sector job creation at an estimated 39,700, down from the initial estimate of 43,900. That's 4,200 fewer than were listed before.

Meanwhile, the report showed no net change -- up or down -- for January of 2014.

More accurate numbers come from a quarterly survey that involves 96 percent of state businesses. The final figure for 2013 will be available in late spring.

With three years in the books, the state has added an estimated 103,372 private sector jobs.

That's less than half of the way to Walker's promise that the state would add 250,000 jobs by the end of his four year term. To reach that, the state would have to add more than 13,000 jobs in each of the remaining months of this year.

This promise remains In the Works.

Sources:

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development monthly jobs report, March 13, 2014

Progress in 2013, but a long way to go

Gov. Scott Walker took a significant stride toward meeting his 250,000 jobs promise during 2013, according to the latest report from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.

But even with an estimated 43,900 jobs created -- far more than in his first two years in office -- the governor is less than halfway toward meeting his promise to create 250,000 private sector jobs in his four-year term.

The report issued Jan. 23, 2014 says that state employers created an estimated 3,000 jobs in December. The same report boosted the November finalized figure by 200 jobs to 4,200.

These reports come from the monthly Current Employment Statistics, a survey of about 3 percent of Wisconsin employers. They are preliminary and prone to considerable revision.

On the Walk-O-Meter we use a combination of the best-available numbers to measure Walker's progress on meeting his jobs promise. We use the more-accurate figures from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages for the full year totals. (Data collection lags six months, and the final QCEW tally for 2013 won't be available until the middle of next year.)

For the first two years of his term the QCEW reports say the state added 63,672 jobs. For 2013, we add to that the running total of monthly Current Employment Survey figures.

Our Walk-O-Meter total: An increase of 107,572 jobs.

That's about 43 percent of the way toward the 250,000 mark with 12 months remaining in his term. You can see our updated graphic tracking progress on Walker's promise here.

Meanwhile, a couple notes about the 2013 monthly figures:

-- The state added jobs in nine months -- although two were tiny additions (700 in February and 100 in March). Four months -- January, May, June and October -- saw additions of more than 12,000.

-- There was an unusually sharp decline of 20,800 jobs in April. That was the single largest monthly swing -- positive or negative -- since Walker took office in January 2011.

To meet Walker's 250,000 pledge, the state would have to create in one year 34,853 more jobs than the previous three years combined. By another measure, it would have to add 11,869 jobs each month of 2014.

We're continue to rate this promise In the Works.

Sources:

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development monthly jobs report, Jan. 23, 2014

Keeps inching forward ... though inches won't be enough to meet the pledge

The most recent state jobs report says Gov. Scott Walker inched closer to meeting his top campaign promise of adding 250,000 private sector jobs during his first term.

The report, issued Dec. 19, 2013 says the state added an estimated 4,000 private-sector jobs in November.

There were two other developments that factor into this month's jobs count.

First, the state revised the October jobs count up by 2,300 jobs, pushing that month's increase to 14,700. That's the second largest monthly increase for this year, behind the June count of 15,600.

Second, the state's job count for all of 2012 was revised as well, up by 1,590 to a total of  33,872. That's important because these numbers are from the federal government's Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, which collects data from nearly every employer in the state.

We use a combination of the best-available numbers to measure Walker's progress on meeting his 250,000 jobs promise. For the first two years of his term the annual reports say the state added 63,672 jobs. For 2013, we add to that the running total of monthly Current Employment Survey figures.

The monthly figures show that the state added an estimated 40,700 jobs in the first 11 months of 2013. That compares with 29,800 in 2011 and 33,872 in 2012. (Data collection lags six months, and the final QCEW tally for 2013 won't be available until the middle of next year.)

So lets tally up.

The latest monthly report, and revisions to previous reports, boost Walker's tally by 10,890 jobs. That brings the total number of jobs added since he took office to an estimated 104,372, or about 42 percent of the total the governor promised.

Put another way, he's got 145,628 jobs to add with 13 months to go. You can see an updated version of our monthly jobs graphic here.

We will keep this rating at In the Works.

Sources:

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Nov. 2013 jobs report, Dec. 19, 2013

Some progress, but a long, long way to go

For Gov. Scott Walker to achieve his top campaign promise, the state's employers will have to go on a sustained hiring binge.

The latest report, issued Nov. 21, 2013, indicates that Walker is a little more than a third of the way to his promise of creating 250,000 private sector jobs by the end of his four-year term.

Our latest calculations estimate the state has created about 96,482 jobs since Walker took office, leaving 153,518 to go with 14 months of his term remaining.

That means the state would have to add, on average, nearly 11,000 jobs a month before the end of 2014 to reach 250,000.

The latest report from the state Department of Workforce Development contained good and bad news when it came to Walker's promise.

The federal government shutdown delayed the report, and the state combined the September and October figures in one statement. However, the state agency only emphasized the positive.

It showed an increase in private sector employment of an estimated 12,400 jobs. That's the increase in employment from September to October.

What wasn't shown was the difference from August to September -- a loss of 4,600 jobs. The report also revised down the August jobs count by 1,200, to an increase of 6,100.

So the net result of the latest report: the state gained 6,600 jobs, or about half of what the department highlighted.

The report is based on preliminary estimates from a small sample size that are subject to considerable revision. The monthly reports are among the tools we use to monitor Walker's jobs promise. For our tally we use a combination of the best available annual and monthly data supplied by the state and the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

You can see our updated monthly graphic that follows Walker's progress in meeting the jobs promise.

This promise remains In the Works.

Sources:

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development jobs report, September and October 2013, Nov. 21, 2013

More positive news in August numbers, but revision gives July a small drop

Three steps forward, one step back. That's the best way to view the latest report on private-sector job creation in Wisconsin.

The state's job count increased in August, a figure that was offset by revised figures for the month of July, the state reported Sept. 19, 2013.

The end result was positive news when it comes to Gov. Scott Walker's efforts to meet his campaign promise to create 250,000 private-sector jobs by the end of his four-year term.

The report said the state added an estimated 7,300 private sector jobs in August. However, the same report revised the count for July down by 1,900 jobs. The preliminary report for July had showed an increase of 1,800 jobs, so the revision put the count for that month in the red by 100.

That put a small negative blip in what has otherwise been a strong summer for job creation, according to the state reports. Between May and August, the state added 35,400 jobs, the reports say.

That string of increases, however, came after an unusually large decline in April, where reports showed the state losing 20,800 private-sector jobs.

The August report is based on preliminary estimates from a small sample size that are subject to considerable revision. The monthly reports are among the tools we use to monitor Walker's jobs promise. For our tally we use a combination of the best available annual and monthly data supplied by the state and the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

So let's tally up.

The latest numbers put the number of jobs created since Walker took office at 89,882. That's a little more than a third of the way toward his goal of 250,000 jobs. (You can see our month-by-month graphic here)

Put another way, for Walker to meet his promise, the state must add 160,118 jobs in 16 months, or an average of about 10,000 jobs a month. This promise remains In the Works.

Sources:

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, August 2013 jobs report, Sept. 19, 2013

Some progress in July, but has the promise become a 'goal'?

Gov. Scott Walker stirred attention Aug. 26, 2013 when asked about his progress toward meeting his top campaign promise -- that the state would add 250,000 private sector jobs by the end of his four-year term.

Since taking office, Walker has offered a number of responses when asked about the numbers.

He celebrated and took credit when the state saw big monthly gains. He criticized data collection methods, the federal government and more when they declined. Last winter, in a claim we rated Pants on Fire, Walker misused the data to inflate the jobs count.

On Aug. 26, 2013, Walker talked about what happened before he took office. And he referred to the promise as a "goal.”

"My goal wasn't so much to hit a magic number as much as it was, in the four years before I took office, when I was campaigning, I saw that we lost over 133,000 jobs in the state. I said, 'It's really not about jobs, it's about real people, real jobs like those here, and more importantly, affecting real families all across the state,'" Walker told reporters.

Some saw the governor's answer as a significant change in his position.

Rhinelander television station WJFW reported on the governor"s comments under an online headline that read: "Walker backs off campaign jobs pledge at Merrill stop.” The comments came during a visit to Northern Wire, a Merrill manufacturer.

The state Democratic Party said the governor's comments indicated he was giving up on the jobs promise, and issued a news release with this headline: "Scott Walker Completely Abandons Central Campaign Promise to Create 250,000 New Jobs.”

We asked Walker's office about the report from Merrill, and whether the governor was backing away from the jobs promise.

"Absolutely not,” spokesman Tom Evenson said in an email. "Gov. Walker has never backed away from that goal.”

Evenson added: "In that story, Governor Walker was providing the context behind the goal.  Governor Walker set the goal because it"s about real people and real families all across Wisconsin.  Governor Walker"s number one priority is helping the people of this state create jobs.”

It's worth noting that in his short statement, Evenson three times refers to his boss's top promise as a "goal.”

As a point of reference, we'll pay a quick visit to the online dictionary:

Goal: "The object of a person's ambition or effort; an aim or desired result.”

Promise: "A declaration or assurance that one will do a particular thing or that a particular thing will happen.”

So what is the latest on the jobs count?

The latest report from the state Department of Workforce Development said the state added a total of 1,800 private-sector jobs in July. That puts the total number of jobs added since Walker took office at 84,482, or about one-third of the way. You can see our latest graphic tracking the jobs promise here.

Sources:

"Walker backs off campaign jobs pledge at Merrill stop,” WJFW.com, Aug. 27, 2013

News release, Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Aug. 27, 2013

Emails, Tom Evenson, spokesman, Gov. Scott Walker, Aug. 27, 2013

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development July 2013 jobs report, Aug. 15, 2013

"Gov. Scott Walker says Wisconsin has created almost 100,000 jobs since he took office,” PolitiFact Wisconsin, Dec. 12, 2012

Second month in a row with a gain

The state jobs picture brightened in June -- a development that promoted a bit of celebration from Gov. Scott Walker's administration.


The monthly report released July 18, 2013 by the state Department of Workforce Development said that private-sector employers added 13,800 jobs in June. The news release included an observation from the department's secretary, Reggie Newson, who said it was "the largest month-to-month gain for any month since September 2003.”


Gov. Scott Walker's top campaign promise in 2010 was that the state would add 250,000 private sector jobs by the end of his four-year term.


The latest report marks the second month of increases in a row. May saw an increase of 12,600 jobs.


However, that came after one of the steepest monthly declines on record -- a loss of 20,800 jobs in April.  That was the steepest decline since a loss of 23,900 jobs in April 2009, as the economy tanked. State employers cut 83,200 in the first four months of that year.


Newson's release noted the state added about 62,000 jobs in the first two years of Walker's term, according to the most accurate figures available.


He said the jobs reports and other factors should be considered together to evaluate the health of the state's economy. "These economic indicators point to a trajectory of economic growth in Wisconsin under Governor Walker's leadership, and we must do everything we can to maintain this positive momentum.”


The June report is based on preliminary estimates from a small sample size that are subject to considerable revision. The monthly reports are among the tools we use to monitor Walker's jobs promise. For our tally we use a combination of the best available annual and monthly data supplied by the state and the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The monthly reports for 2013 show that the state has added 18,800 jobs in the first six months of this year. Added to the previous two years, and the count is 80,882, meaning the governor has 169,118 jobs remaining to meet his goal. This promise remains In The Works.

Sources:

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development monthly jobs report for June 2013, July 18, 2013

Final numbers for 2012 show a long way to go

We now have the numbers for the half-way point in our effort to measure Gov. Scott Walker's top campaign promise from 2010 -- that the state would create 250,000 private sector jobs by the end of his four-year term.


The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics on June 27, 2013 released data for job creation in 2012, the second full year of Walker's term. The report said that Wisconsin added a total of 32,282 private sector jobs last year.


That compares with 29,800 jobs in 2011, bringing the two-year total to 62,082 jobs.


At the halfway mark of his term, that meant Walker was only about one fourth of the way -- or 187,918 jobs -- from his goal.


The census report is based on what experts agree is the best and most accurate assessment of the state's employment, the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages. It's compiled from more than 90 percent of state employers.


But the census figures come with a six-month time lag.


To provide our monthly update on the jobs tally, we start with the annual data. Then we consider the less accurate but carefully watched monthly Current Employment Survey estimates. Those monthly figures are based on data collected from 3 percent of state employers that is then extrapolated to the entire state. Those numbers have a high margin of error and can be subject to considerable revisions in later months.


Here's an example of how the data gets refined. The monthly survey results said the state added 23,800 jobs in 2012.


That's 8,482 jobs fewer than the census report showed for the same time frame.


We'll continue our practice of using the census figure as our "baseline” and then build in the more timely monthly count. We do this because if we relied exclusively on the census, we would not get a final jobs count for Walker's term until six months after the 2014 election. We'll add the 2013 census results to our baseline when those figures become available at this time next year.

 

So let's tally up.


According to the monthly survey results, the state added a total of 5,100 jobs through May of 2013. It's been an up-and-down year so far, marked by two months (January and May) with more than 12,000 jobs added, and the month of April which saw a decline of 20,800.


Combining the 2013 data with the results from the previous two years yields our bottom line: the state has added an estimated 67,182 private sector jobs since Walker took office. That leaves 182,818 jobs left to go in the 19 months that remain, or an average of 9,622 jobs per month, for Walker to meet his goal.

This promise remains In the Works.

Sources:

Bureau of Labor Statistics 2013 jobs report based on the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, June 27, 2013

Two batches of not-so-good news

The latest job counts released by the state Department of Workforce Development contained  long- and short-term results for measuring Gov. Scott Walker's top campaign promise.


Neither was good news.


In 2010, Walker promised voters that he would create 250,000 private sector jobs by the end of his four-year term. Here are details of the latest tabulations:


On May 16, 2013, the state released the final 2012 job count based on the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, a survey that covers about 97 percent of state businesses. Although it has a six month lag, it's considered the most accurate measure of employment.


The report said the state created 32,373 private sector jobs in 2012. That figure will be vetted by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics and formally released in June, but is not expected to change much.


Add the 2012 jobs to the 29,800 jobs created in 2011, and you get 62,072 jobs for Walker's first two years in office. That's just under 25 percent of the number he promised, though he's more than halfway through the term.


The state also released the less accurate but closely watched monthly jobs count for April.  That report showed a loss of 22,600 jobs -- the single largest monthly swing, positive or negative, since Walker took office in January 2011.


The state report also revised the March 2013 count from a loss of 1,100 jobs to a gain of 100.


Here's a link to our graphic tracking the governor's promise, updated with the April results. It shows that the state has created about 44,200 private sector jobs since the governor took office.


(As we did last year, we'll update the graphic's final total for 2012 when the BLS issues the final, more accurate, job count for 2012.)


For now, we'll keep this promise at In the Works.

Sources:

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "State reports 62,000 net jobs gain in 2 years,” May 16, 2013


Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "New job numbers fuel debate over Gov. Walker's economic record,” May 16, 2013


Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development April 2013 jobs report

Upward revision for February covers drop for March

The monthly jobs pendulum swung in both directions in the most recent report filed by the state Department of Workforce Development.


The April 18, 2013 report included a revised jobs count estimate for February, from a negative 2,300 jobs to an increase of 700 -- a swing in the positive direction of 3,000 jobs. Meanwhile, the report said the state lost an estimated 1,100 private sector jobs in March.


The report is based on preliminary estimates from a small sample size that are subject to considerable revision, as seen by the February  numbers.


The monthly reports are among the tools we use to monitor the top campaign promise made by Gov. Scott Walker -- that the state would create 250,000 private-sector jobs by the end of his four-year term. For our tally we use a combination of the best available annual and monthly data supplied by the state and the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.


You can see month-to-month changes in this graphic.


With the March estimates and the February revision, the tally stands at an increase of 65,400 private sector jobs since Walker took office in January 2011.


The means he has 184,400 jobs to add in the remaining 21 months of his term -- an average of 8,780 per month -- to meet his promise.

This promise remains In the Works.

Sources:

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development March 2013 jobs report, April 18, 2013

A downtick for February

Wisconsin's private sector job count ticked down in February, according to the latest state report.


The state lost 2,300 private sector jobs in that month, according to the Department of Workforce Development report issued March 28, 2013.


That comes a couple of weeks after the state said there were 12,400 private sector jobs added in January 2013.


Both reports are based on preliminary estimates from a small sample size that are subject to considerable revision. They are among the tools we use to monitor the top campaign promise made in 2010 by Gov. Scott Walker -- that the state would create 250,000 private sector jobs by the end of his four-year term.


For our job count we use a combination of the best available annual and monthly data supplied by the state and the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. You can see month-to-month changes in this graphic.

Factoring in the February numbers, our records say that the state added about 63,700 private sector jobs since Walker took office in January, 2011. The means he has 186,300 jobs to add in the remaining 21 months of his administration -- an average of 8,871 per month -- to meet his promise.

This promise remains In the Works.

Sources:

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Feburary 2013 jobs report, March 28, 2013

January report contains good news for governor

The January 2013 jobs report contained good news on several fronts for Gov. Scott Walker when it comes to measuring his top campaign promise -- that the state would create 250,000 private sector jobs by the end of his four year term.


-- The  report, issued March 14, 2013, said preliminary estimates showed the state added 12,400 private sector jobs in January 2013. This is based on a survey of about 3 percent of state employers and is a figure that will be revised in the months to come.


-- The report also refined -- the technical term is benchmarked -- monthly data for 2012. The result: an increase of 14,100 jobs over what had been tallied in the monthly reports for that year.


The benchmarking produced some sharp swings in the data from what was originally reported and already refined one time.


For instance, the monthly survey report for January 2012 said the state added 13,800 jobs. That got knocked down to 3,900. Similarly, the June report said there was a decline of 11,300 jobs, while the new report said the state added 2,100 jobs in that month.


A similar swing was seen when the 2011 data was benchmarked at this time last year. Then, the benchmarked figures for 2011, plus January 2012, said there was an increase of 6,000 jobs since Walker took office. Later data revisions put that figure at 33,700 for the same time frame.


Experts say that swings tied to the revisions of the monthly jobs data are expected because of the small sample size. More concrete numbers come from the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, which surveys some 96 percent of state businesses. The census figure for 2012 will be available in late spring.


Even those census figures aren't rock solid. The January 2013 jobs report said that the 2011 census total was tweaked up by 1,989 to 29,800 -- more good news for the governor.


Once again, the jobs report was issued along with statements from the administration criticizing the data as unreliable and prone to revision. Yet, early in his term, Walker held news conferences to take credit for monthly job gains, and in other months issued statements blaming national politics or recall elections for contributing to losses. Starting at the end of 2011, as a recall election loomed, Walker shifted to criticism the Bureau of Labor Statistics (the federal government) for its data collection methods.

 

The net effect of the most recent report: Our scorecard says the state has added a total of 66,000 jobs since Walker took office in January of 2010. That's about 26.4 percent of his promised 250,000 jobs.

This promise remains In the Works.

Sources:

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development January 2013 jobs report, March 14, 2013

December numbers continue a slow rise upward

Wisconsin added 4,500 private-sector jobs in December 2012, according to preliminary figures for the month from the state Department of Workforce Development.

That's progress for Gov. Scott Walker on his campaign promise to add 250,000 jobs by the end of his term in January 2015.

But for the promise to be kept, the pace of hiring will have to accelerate, given that 212,489 more jobs are needed to reach that mark.

"The number of employed continues to increase and the number of unemployed continues to decline, but both have moved very slowly relative to historical experience with past recoveries," John Heywood, economics professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

We continue to rate it In the Works.

Sources:

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, December 2012 jobs report, Jan. 17, 2013

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "State added 4,500 private-sector jobs in December,” Jan. 17, 2013

 

At mid-term, a look at where we stand and how we got there

With the Walk-O-Meter, we have tracked Gov. Scott Walker's top campaign promise -- that the state would create 250,000 private-sector jobs by the end of his four year term -- since shortly after the governor took office in 2011.

As the governor moves into the second half of his term, the jobs count will be increasingly scrutinized. Shortly before taking office, Walker said he encouraged the monthly monitoring by PolitiFact -- and said in December 2010 that he planned to provide a similar jobs count on his own web site. However, that never happened.

The Walker administration has taken a love-hate approach to the numbers.

Early on, Walker and administration officials celebrated increases in the monthly count. Later, they began criticizing the quality of the data and downplayed the figures.

Recent developments underscore the level of interest in the jobs promise, and affirm the approach we have been taking.

Our latest count put the number, as of the end of November 2012, at 37,011 new jobs since Walker took office.

We use two sets of data to arrive at that figure, which is tracked in a monthly graphic.

Highly accurate census data showed there were 27,811 jobs created in Wisconsin in 2011. For the best approximation, we add to that the net total of 9,200 jobs created in 2012, according to monthly Current Employment Survey reports issued by the Department of Workforce Development.

Walker recently used a different method and came up with more than twice that number of jobs. On Dec. 12, 2012, Walker said state employers created "just under 100,000” jobs. In an  appearance later that day he put the figure at a little more than 86,000 jobs.

We rated Walker's claim Pants on Fire because the figures came from combining full and partial year census data -- a move that members of Walker"s staff and other experts previously said should not be done because it mixes seasonally adjusted and non-seasonally adjusted data.

Walker's staff said he was referring to "raw data,” however he didn't include any such caveat in making his statements. And nowhere in jobs discussion has there been a previous mention of the use of raw data. And there was no explanation of what constituted "raw data.”

A state Department of Revenue report released about a week later, Dec. 20, 2012, provided some more insight -- and reached nearly the same conclusion on the jobs count as we did.

The report says the state "added approximately 38,000 jobs in 2011 and 2012.”

The report did not say what factored into the calculation -- or why it included, apparently, a projection about December 2012 employment. The initial Workforce Development report on December employment won't be released until Jan. 17, 2013.

The Revenue Department includes graphs that show the monthly and quarterly graphs moving in the same direction -- generally upward in the past year and a half.

"The next revision to the CES jobs data, due March 2013, will correct the deviation seen in the last four quarters to show the same trend the QCEW reports,” the revenue department report said.

The report projected that Wisconsin would add 36,000 jobs in 2013, and a total of 127,900 private sector jobs during Walker's four-year term. That"s would be a little more than half the number he promised.

The Revenue Department used seasonally adjusted CES data to create the report, a spokeswoman said. The data used for "the third quarter of 2012 was still forecast at the time the report was completed,” she said. Similarly, the report indicated that the fourth quarter 2012 figures were estimates as well.

When the full-year census numbers for 2012 are available in late spring, we'll use that as a new baseline. And we'll continue to use the monthly numbers -- listing the caveats and limitations that come with it -- for the most up-to-date count.

This promise remains In the Works.

Sources:

Wisconsin Department of Revenue, Wisconsin Economic Outlook, Fall 2012 report, Dec. 20, 2012

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Latest 4-year job estimate far short of Walker goal,” Dec. 21, 2012

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Walker says right-to-work battle would be distraction," Dec. 12, 2012

PolitiFact Wisconsin, "Gov. Scott Walker says Wisconsin has created almost 100,000 jobs since he took office,” Dec. 16, 2012

PolitiFact Wisconsin Walk-O-Meter

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development monthly jobs reports

Emails, interviews, John Koskinen, economist, Wisconsin Department of Revenue, Aug. 17, 2012

Emails, Cullen Werwie, spokesman, Gov. Scott Walker, Aug. 17, 2012

Interview, email, Jocelyn Webster, spokeswoman, Gov. Scott Walker, Dec. 12, 14, 2012

Interview, Gov.-Elect Scott Walker, Dec. 7, 2010

Emails, Laurel Patrick, spokeswoman, Wisconsin Department of Revenue, Dec. 27, 2012

A swing to the positive

The jobs pendulum swung again in November 2012, as state employers created 10,300 jobs.

The November report, issued Dec. 20, 2012 by the state Department of Workforce Development, also revised the October jobs count up by 1,300 jobs. That means the October job loss was 4,700, rather than 6,000 as reported in the preliminary numbers.

With the latest report and revisions, the state has added 9,200 jobs since the beginning of 2012.

The monthly reports have swung between positive and negative throughout the year. The November increase is the largest since 13,800 jobs were added in January.

The jobs count is based upon the monthly Current Employment Survey in which information from about 3 percent of state employers is extrapolated to apply to all state workplaces. It's subject to revisions and is less accurate than the quarterly census of employers, which involves a survey of more than 90 percent of state businesses.
   
We are using a combination of the monthly survey reports for 2012 and the more precise census data issued for 2011 to measure Gov. Scott Walker's promise to create 250,000 jobs by the end of his four-year term. That approach gives voters the most up to date picture possible -- and one that will get more accurate over time as future years pass.
   
The census data showed there were 27,811 jobs created in Wisconsin in 2011. Adding to that the 9,200 created this year, the total is 37,011 jobs added since the governor took office.

That means Walker has 212,989 jobs left to meet his goal. And this promise remains In the Works.

Sources:

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development November jobs report, Dec. 20, 2012

October report slides the year into negative territory

The state's October 2012 jobs report showed a loss of 6,000 private sector jobs, pushing the total for the year back into negative territory. With the latest figures, our calculations show that Gov. Scott Walker has created about one-tenth of the jobs he promised that would be created by the end of his four-year term.

The October report, released Nov. 15, 2012 by the state Department of Workforce Development, also revised slightly downward the number of jobs created in September.

With the latest report and revision, the state has 2,400 fewer jobs than at the beginning of 2012.

The jobs count is based upon the monthly Current Employment Survey in which information from about 3 percent of state employers is extrapolated to apply to all state workplaces. It's subject to revisions and is less accurate than the quarterly census of employers, which involves a survey of more than 90 percent of state businesses.

We are using a combination of the monthly survey reports for 2012 and the more-precise census data issued for 2011 to gauge Gov. Scott Walker's promise to create 250,000 jobs by the end of his four year term. That approach gives voters the most up to date picture possible -- and one that will get more accurate over time as future years pass.

The census data showed that there were 27,811 jobs created in Wisconsin in 2011. Subtract from that the loss of 2,400 jobs this year, and the net is 25,411.

That leaves Walker with 224,589 jobs to add to meet his promise. This promise remains In the Works.

Sources:

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development October jobs report, released Nov. 15, 2012

A small monthly uptick moves 2012 into the black

Two months of gains in monthly surveys pushed the 2012 jobs count into the black for the first time since last winter.

That"s according to the September employment report issued Oct. 18, 2012 by the state Department of Workforce Development.

The jobs count is based upon the monthly Current Employment Survey in which information from about 3 percent of state employers is extrapolated to apply to all state workplaces. It's subject to revisions and is less accurate than the quarterly census of employers, which involves a survey of more than 90 percent of state businesses.

We are using a combination of the monthly survey reports for 2012 and the more-precise census data issued for 2011 to guage Gov. Scott Walker's promise to create 250,000 jobs by the end of his four year term. That approach gives voters the most up to date picture possible -- and one that will get more accurate over time as future years pass.

The latest survey report said that the state added 1,500 private sector jobs in September. The report also revised upward by 3,100 the number of jobs added in August.

Taken together, the 2012 survey reports show the state had a net gain of 4,100 jobs in 2012. Added to the 27,811 jobs added in 2011, it puts the total since Walker became governor at 31,911. That leaves 218,089 jobs left for the governor to meet his goal.

You can see our updated monthly graphic tracking this promise here.

This promise remains In the Works.

Sources:

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development September jobs report, Oct. 18, 2012

On the plus side for August, still down 500 for the year

Wisconsin added 4,300 private sector jobs in August 2012, according to a preliminary report issued Sept. 20, 2012 by the state Department of Workforce Development.

Combined with the monthly figures released for the previous seven months of 2012, the state recorded an estimated net loss of 500 jobs for this year, according to state jobs data.
   
That jobs count is based upon the monthly Current Employment Survey in which information from about 3 percent of state employers is extrapolated to apply to all state workplaces. It's subject to revisions and is less accurate than the quarterly census of employers, which involves a survey of more than 90 percent of state businesses.

The monthly data is routinely used by the media and politicians as the most up-to-date snapshot. We're using it to help make an on-going measurement of Gov. Scott Walker's top 2010 campaign promise -- that the state would create 250,000 private sector jobs by the end of his four-year term.

The census numbers showed 27,811 jobs created in Wisconsin for all of 2011. That number is, in effect, in the books. But those numbers lag by six months, so the monthly numbers are the most up to date picture of where things stand this year.

The monthly survey shows 500 fewer jobs in August than when 2012 began. That puts the rough total of jobs created since Walker took office at 27,311. That leaves about 222,689 jobs to go, with a little more than two years left in his term.

You can see our graphic tracking Walker's jobs promise here.

This promise remains In the Works. 

Sources:

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development monthy jobs report, Sept. 20, 2012

Another monthy drop, but still on the positive side

We're updating our item that monitors Gov. Scott Walker's progress toward meeting his top  2010 campaign promise -- that the state would create 250,000 private sector jobs by the end of his four-year term.

The state's jobs or lack of jobs -- and the accuracy of underlying jobs data -- was a central part of the June 5, 2012 recall election in which Walker defeated Democrat Tom Barrett, the mayor of Milwaukee.

When we started this promise on the Walk-O-Meter, we noted that the jobs numbers are a moving picture, one that comes into sharper -- and more accurate -- focus over time.

In late June 2012, federal officials released the most accurate count of state employment for 2011, Walker's first year in office. It is based on the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, which is compiled through reports from more than 90 percent of state employers.

(These are the numbers Walker was criticized for releasing weeks early, before final adjustments from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.)

The final number for 2011 showed the state added 19,551 private-sector jobs.

So we're using that census figure as a new baseline, and will continue to do so in future years as more full years are, in a sense, in the books.

Since the census figures come with a six-month lag time, to measure changes in 2012 we'll use monthly Current Employment Survey numbers provided by the state Department of Workforce Development.

Those figures are far less accurate than the census. The monthly reports are based on data collected from about 3 percent of state employers that is then extrapolated to the entire state. Thus, they have a high margin of error and are subject to revision, sometimes wide revision, in later months.

Although the monthly survey numbers are less accurate, they are routinely cited by the media and politicians when they tout (or downplay) the results.

With that understanding of the two sets of numbers, together they provide the best approximation of how Walker is doing on his promise. (If we relied exclusively on the census, we wouldn't get a figure for his final year until after the 2014 election.)

So far in 2012, the monthly numbers show a net increase of 2,400 jobs.

When considered with the census numbers, the state has created an estimated 21,951 jobs since Walker took office. That means the state will need to create 228,049 more jobs before the end of Walker's term in 2014 for him to achieve his goal. (Here is our graphic monitoring changes)

We continue to rate this promise In The Works.

Sources:

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development June 2012 jobs report

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Jobs data now official: Wisconsin gains but lags behind most states,” June 28, 2012

This month: Down

The up-and-down pattern of the state's monthly jobs report continued in March 2012. This time, the numbers took a dip, showing Wisconsin lost an estimated 4,300 private sector jobs.

Additionally, the state Department of Workforce Development revised up by 2,100 the number of jobs added in February. The new report says that there were 6,100 jobs added in that month.

We are using the monthly numbers to measure progress by Gov. Scott Walker on achieving his top campaign promise: The state adding 250,000 private sector jobs by the end of his four-year term.

The monthly jobs numbers are preliminary estimates and are compiled by survey data.

The new report puts state private-sector employment at 2,329,500, compared with 2,323,600 when Walker took office -- an increase of 5,900 jobs. That leaves the governor with 244,100 jobs left to reach 250,000.

Walker has taken a love-hate approach to the monthly jobs numbers. He has celebrated increases with news conferences and television ads. And when they"ve declined, members of his administration have criticized the figures as being sloppy.

This month, the administration put an entirely new spin on the numbers.

For the first time, they discussed an indicator called Help Wanted OnLine, compiled by the Conference Board, a national business organization. That indicator, state economists said, suggests that the job numbers will increase for the month of April.

This promise remains In the Works.

(Editor's note: An earlier version of this item used March numbers from 2011 instead of 2012. It has been corrected to reflect a net increase of 5,900 jobs instead of 12,000 jobs, and 244,100 jobs left to reach 250,000.)

Sources:

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development March 2012 jobs report

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development November, 2011 jobs report

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "State lost 4,300 private sector jobs in March,” April 19, 2012

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "State jobs figures carried an asterisk,” Dec. 4, 2011

Scott Walker campaign ad, "Economy”

A second consecutive month on the plus side

The state jobs report for February 2012 contained more encouraging signs for the state's economy -- and for Gov. Scott Walker in his quest to create 250,000 jobs.

The state added an estimated 4,000 private sector jobs in the month, according to the report issued March 22, 2012. It was the second consecutive month of job increases, after nine months of decreases or tiny upticks in 2011.

The February report also revised downward by 1,900 the number of jobs added in January, for a total of 13,800. The January increase was one of the largest in several years.

Walker campaigned on the promise that Wisconsin would add 250,000 private-sector jobs by the end of his four-year term. With months of declines, and hiring taking place at a frustrating slow pace, some have expressed doubts about whether the governor's goal can be acheived.

The latest numbers -- combined with revisions of 2011 figures -- show there have been 8,100 new jobs created since Walker took office in January 2011. That leaves 241,900 jobs remaining to meet his goal.

Here is our latest graphic update on the jobs promise.

This promise remains In the Works.

Sources:

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development jobs report for Feburary 2012, March 22, 2012

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "State added 4,000 private sectors jobs in February,” March 22, 2012

Numbers up in January, but revision for 2011 went downward

With the U.S. gaining jobs and Wisconsin losing them in recent months, there has been high anticipation for the monthly jobs reports released by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.

The department released its latest report on March 8, 2012. It contains preliminary employment figures for January 2012 and revised or "final” figures each month of 2011.

The report shows -- based on preliminary estimates -- the state added 15,700 private-sector jobs in January 2012.

For Walker, that sounds like a nice jump toward reaching his goal of creating 250,000 jobs by the end of his first term.

Unfortunately for the Republican governor, the revisions brought bad news.

When we last updated this item, the state had a net increase of 13,500 private-sector jobs since Walker took office.

But the state not only revised its monthly job figures for 2011 but also for December 2010, which is the starting point for measuring Walker"s jobs promise given that it was the last month before he took office.

The revisions show Wisconsin had more private-sector jobs just before Walker took office and it hasn"t added as many as what the government previously reported.

The bottom line?

Despite the estimated increase of 15,700 private-sector jobs in January 2012, the state has seen a net increase of only 6,000 private-sector jobs under Walker, who set a goal of 250,000 new such jobs in his first four-year term.

(Here is our monthly chart tracking the changes)

Sources:

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, January 2012 jobs report, March 8, 2012

PolitiFact Wisconsin, create 250,000 new jobs Walk-O-Meter item

After one year in office, a net increase of 13,500

Here's the job creation tally for Gov. Scott Walker's first year in office: 13,500.

That's the number of net new jobs that the state has added under Walker, according to the state Department of Workforce Development. The preliminary report for December was released on Jan. 19, 2012 and it showed that the state lost 3,900 private sector jobs that month.

The report included the "final” revised figures for November 2011. Preliminary reports had said the state lost 11,500 jobs in November -- the worse single month job loss since April 2009. The revision put the November job loss at 10,600.

That puts November just behind July in terms of the worst jobs loss. The state lost 10,800 jobs in July 2011.

The last report showing an increase in jobs came in June, when there were 14,800 jobs added, according to the monthly report.

Walker's first year was evenly split in terms of monthly jobs reports. There was a monthly gain for the first six months, for a total of 41,200 jobs added. The second six months were all losses, for a total decline of 27,700. The difference is 13,500.

As a candidate, Walker promised that the state would have 250,000 private sector jobs by the end of his four year term. Our calculations show that he has 236,500 jobs left to go. And this promise remains In the Works.

You can find our graphic tracking progress on the promise here.

Sources:

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development jobs report for December 2011, Jan. 19, 2012

Down again.

Wisconsin's jobs count continues to move in the wrong direction.

The state lost 11,700 private sector jobs in November, according to the monthly report issued Dec. 15, 2011 by the Department of Workforce Development.

It was the single largest monthly job loss since Republican Scott Walker took office in January 2011, and the largest since April 2009, according to state statistics.

It's also the fifth consecutive month of job losses.

Walker's top campaign promise was that the state would add 250,000 private-sector jobs before the end of his four-year term. The new report puts state private-sector employment at 2,333,508, compared with 2,317,200 when Walker took office -- an increase of 16,308 jobs. That leaves the governor with 233,692 jobs left to achieve his promise.

You can see our monthly graphic update on Walker's jobs promise here.

The monthly jobs numbers are preliminary estimates and are compiled by survey data. That means they are subject to revision.

While the Walker administration in the past has used the numbers to tout success, this time they questioned their underlying accuracy.  

This promise remains In the Works.

Sources:

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "State jobs figures carried an asterisk,”  Dec. 4, 2011

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development jobs report for November 2011, Dec. 15, 2011

Month of losses sets the state back to March levels

We"re back to March.

That"s the bottom line when it comes to the latest jobs report issued by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.

The October report, issued Nov. 17, 2011, said there were 2,337,300 private sector jobs in the state, a decline of 9,300 from the previous month. It was the fourth consecutive monthly decline in the number of private sector jobs.

Records show the number is close to that of March of 2011 when the state had 2,339,100 jobs.

That"s a discouraging trend, especially for Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who"s top campaign promise was that the state would have 250,000 more private sector jobs at the end of his four year term.

In October, the state Department of Revenue issued a report that predicted job creation will fall far short of the governor"s promise. That report projected the state will have added 136,000 jobs by the end of 2014, a little more than half of what Walker promised.

The latest monthly snapshot shows that there have been 20,100 net new jobs added since Walker took office in January 2011. That leaves Walker with 229,900 jobs to go.

This promise remains In the Works.

Sources:

Wisconsin Department of Revenue Wisconsin Economic Outlook,Fall 2011

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development October 2011 jobs report, issued Nov. 17, 2011

Another month on the down side

For several months, Gov. Scott Walker has heralded a "manufacturing-led” recovery in the state's economy.

Those claims have come as the state releases its monthly jobs reports -- the measure we (and Walker's office) have used by to measure his promise that he will create 250,000 private-sector jobs in his four year term.

Walker has said manufacturing job increases were bright spots in July and August -- months where the state lost an estimated 11,600 jobs. Despite big declines in other areas, manufacturing gained 1,100 jobs.

Walker had to find a new story line to explain the employment figures contained in the Oct. 20, 2011 report from the state Department of Workforce Development.

Instead of comparing manufacturing with other sectors, the administration argued the unemployment rate in Wisconsin of 7.8 percent was lower than that in other Midwest states that rely on manufacturing.

The latest report showed a loss of 3,000 manufacturing jobs in September.

That wipes out gains logged in manufacturing in the previous three months. Between June and August, the state gained 1,900 manufacturing jobs, putting the state down 1,100 since June. However, the manufacturing sector now employs 446,600, compared with 433,900 when Walker took office -- an overall increase of 12,700 jobs.

The governor's top campaign promise was that the state would gain 250,000 private sector jobs in his four-year term. The latest report said the state lost 900 jobs in September, the third straight month of employment declines.

You can see our graphic scorecard with updated numbers here.

The latest report also adjusted down the job losses for August. The state lost 200 jobs that month, rather than the 800 previously estimated.

The latest monthly report means there has been a net increase of 29,300 jobs since Walker took over. That means he has 220,700 more to go to meet his pledge.
   
This promise remains In the Works.

Sources:

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development monthly employment report, Oct. 20, 2011

Another month of more down than up

The number of jobs in Wisconsin dropped again in August -- by an estimated 800 positions. But Gov. Scott Walker is 900 jobs closer to achieving his top campaign promise of creating 250,000 private-sector jobs.

How can that be?

The business of estimating the number of jobs in the state is an inexact science. In addition to providing the net number of jobs lost or gained in a particular month, the monthly state Department of Workforce Development report tweaks and "finalizes” the figure for the previous month.

The report issued Sept. 15, 2011 said the state had 2,346,800 private sector jobs at the end of August. That"s 800 fewer than the previous month, the report said.

However, the July jobs picture wasn't quite as bad as initially estimated. The state originally said there was a loss of 12,500 jobs in July -- the deepest single monthly decline since the depths of the 2008-09 recession. That loss was revised to 10,800, which had the effect of "raising” the number of state jobs by 1,700.

Subtract out the 800 lost in August and Walker still finishes the month with a net gain of 900 jobs. Of course, that may or may not be erased when the August numbers are "finalized” in October.

You can see a graphic version of the updated numbers here.

Another note: The monthly jobs reports are just one measuring stick.  A more accurate picture will come in September, when a report is released measuring the first quarter activity for 2011 -- the first three months that Walker was in office.
       
The governor's office says it plans to use those quarterly figures as its official yardstick on the promise.
   
The latest monthly report means there have been a net increase of 29,600 jobs since Walker took over. That means he has 220,400 more to go to meet his pledge.

And this promise remains In the Works.

Sources:

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, Monthly jobs report for August 2011

One month up, next month down

One month after celebrating an upbeat jobs report, Gov. Scott Walker"s administration announced Aug. 18, 2011 that the gains were essentially erased.

The centerpiece pledge of Walker"s campaign was that the state would create 250,000 private-sector jobs by the end of his four-year term. On Aug. 18, the state announced that Wisconsin lost 12,500 private-sector jobs in July 2011 -- the deepest single-month decline since the depths of the 2008-'09 recession.

That compares with an increase of 12,900 jobs announced a month earlier.

Here"s a graphic that summarizes on a month-to-month basis how Walker"s promise is faring.

The monthly jobs reports are preliminary. A more accurate picture will come in September, when a report is released measuring the first quarter activity for 2011-- the first three months that Walker was in office.
   
The governor"s office says it plans to use those quarterly figures as its official yardstick on the promise. Until then, they -- and we -- will use the monthly reports.

The latest report means there have been 28,700 jobs created since Walker took over as governor, meaning he has 221,300 more to meet his pledge. And this one remains In the Works.

Sources:

Monthly jobs report for July 2011

Latest numbers show June was a good month in Wisconsin

Gov. Scott Walker promised that the state would create 250,000 private-sector jobs by the end of his four-year term. On July 21, 2011, he got 12,900 jobs closer to that goal.

The Department of Workforce Development's June employment report says the state had 2,356,500 private-sector jobs in June. That"s 12,900 more than the previous month.

The figure is a net estimate, and accounts for companies that both add and cut jobs in a given month. The monthly report also includes a "final” figure for the previous month that often changes up or down. For May, there was no change in the final jobs figure.

The monthly jobs reports are preliminary. A more accurate picture will come in September, when a report is released measuring the first quarter activity for 2011-- the first three months that Walker was in office.

The governor"s office says it plans to use those quarterly figures as its official yardstick on the promise. Until then, they -- and we -- will use the monthly reports.

One other note: The state"s monthly jobs figure includes both full and part time positions.

So to summarize and bring us up to date: Since Walker took office, the state has added 39,300 jobs, meaning that the governor has 210,700 jobs to go to meet his promise. And this one remains In the Works.

Sources:

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, monthly report, July 21, 2011

How we plan to keep an eye on the biggest promise of all

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker"s legacy will, in many respects, be measured by one number: 250,000.

That"s the number of private sector jobs Walker promised will be created during his four-year term, which began in January 2011.

It was the central promise of his 2010 campaign, and Walker has mentioned it routinely since taking office. He says everything his administration does is based upon improving the state"s economic climate, and says he is pushing the "most aggressive pro-jobs agenda in the country.”

At a recent appearance before the Waupaca Chamber of Commerce, Walker called the 250,000 figure "a minimum, not a maximum.”

We will be tracking that pledge along with 60-some other campaign promises on our Walk-O-Meter feature. It is a tool that measures progress with six ratings, including In the Works, Stalled and Not Yet Rated. Once action is completed, in item is rated Promise Kept, Promise Broken or Compromise.

In this case, expect to see the jobs promise rated as In the Works for awhile.

Nevertheless, we will update the jobs numbers on a monthly basis, as a barometer for how Walker is faring on the way toward his goal. To meet it, he needs a monthly average of just over 5,200 net new jobs a month.

(Click here for a graphic we will be using to measure month-to-month changes)

To be sure, it is difficult to say exactly what direct impact a governor -- or a president or an individual lawmaker, for that matter -- has on private-sector hiring.

For instance, it"s hard to imagine that Walker"s inauguration alone led businesses to hire 10,100 people in January. Indeed, many of the job-related provisions passed in the special session of the Legislature that month took effect later.

But when the final four-year tally is done, those January hires will count as much as the other 47 months of Walker"s term.

There is also the question of how much hiring is coming from routine economic growth.

Walker"s jobs promise came as the country was emerging from the worst recession since the Great Depression. The recession began in December 2007 and ended in June 2009, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research.

In November, former state labor economist Terry Ludeman told the Journal Sentinel that a standard economic recovery should naturally restore the lost jobs and take the state most of the way to the 250,000-job target.

That"s little solace to the thousands of state residents who lost their jobs in the downturn and have yet to find work.  Manufacturing was especially hard hit, but that sector has now begun to lead the recovery.

All of that said, what is the best way to measure progress?

Walker"s office plans to use a quarterly report issued by the state Department of Workforce Development as the official yardstick. However, there is a six-month lag between the date the report is issued and the time frame it covers.

So, the report measuring the first quarter of activity in 2011 -- the first under Walker as governor -- will be issued in late September. Likewise, that approach means voters in November 2014 will face a lag in the numbers, which could have an effect on whether the promise is kept.

The department also issues a preliminary measure of jobs each month, which covers the total employment for the previous month. Even those are adjusted a bit.

For instance, the preliminary March report said there were 2,341,300 private sector  jobs. The final figure for March was 2,339,100 -- a drop of 2,200.

Those preliminary figures are widely reported in the media -- and have been routinely cited (and touted) by Walker"s administration.

For instance, there was this statement tied to the May report, from Scott Baumbach, secretary of the Department of Workforce Development: "Wisconsin has added 26,400 private sector jobs, including 13,100 manufacturing jobs, since Gov. Walker declared Wisconsin is open for business.”

Here at PolitiFact Wisconsin, we"ll also use the monthly figures, starting with December 2010 as the baseline. We"ll update our chart each month. We"ll also keep an eye on whether the more precise quarterly numbers suggest something different is happening and may adjust accordingly.

In each case, the various reports take into account hirings and job cuts and offer a net result, which is the key. We would not simply tally "new jobs” and ignore job cuts. There is no mechanism to do so, and Walker has pointed to the net number.

We will also keep an eye on other measures of state employment.

The nonpartisan Center on Wisconsin Strategy issues a "Wisconsin Job Watch” each month. That"s a broader measure because it includes government jobs -- Walker"s promise relates only to private-sector jobs.

The group points out that the governor has little to do with job creation, or loss.

"Basically, as the national economy goes up and down, so does Wisconsin"s,” the group said in a recent report.

It added: "Though it sounds large, 250,000 jobs is not a particularly impressive number. In fact, taking population growth into account, Wisconsin needs more than that -- more than 270,000 jobs -- to get employment back to its pre-recession level.”

On a seasonally adjusted basis, the state had a total of 2,470,800 private sector jobs in December 2007, when the recession began, according to the state Department of Workforce Development. That compares with 2,343,600 as of May, a difference of about 127,200.

Meanwhile, the number of private sector jobs at the end of December 2010 was 2,317,200.

That"s the final number before Walker entered office. And that"s the baseline for our monthly update. The May 2011 numbers, released June 16, 2011, showed a net increase of 26,400 private-sector jobs.

So, the promise is rated In the Works.

And Walker has 223,600 jobs to go.

Sources:

PolitiFact Wisconsin Walk-O-Meter

Center on Wisconsin Strategy Job Watch

Center on Wisconsin Strategy, "Wisconsin"s Jobs,”  June 17, 2011

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Working on Job Creation,”  Nov. 6, 2010

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development monthly unemployment reports

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development May 2011 unemployment report