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By James B. Nelson November 11, 2011

Tea party group says Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has created a manufacturing-led jobs recovery, with 30,000 new jobs created this year

Gov. Scott Walker plays a prominent role in a nationally televised ad criticizing President Barack Obama’s proposed jobs legislation.

The ad, titled "The Perry-Walker Way," cites job creation in Texas under Gov. Rick Perry and in Wisconsin under Walker. Both Walker and Perry, a presidential candidate, are Republicans.

The ad says the Obama plan calls for more government spending, increased regulations and higher taxes on those who create jobs. It cites the performance of Perry and Walker as offering a "better way" to create jobs, and then continues:

"In Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker has created a manufacturing-led jobs recovery ... 30,000 new jobs were created this year, with 15,000 in the struggling manufacturing sector."

We’ve had a lot of jobs-related statements lately.

Does this one add up? Are we really in a manufacturing-led jobs recovery?

We asked the Sacramento, Calif.-based State Tea Party Express for back up on the group’s claim about Walker’s performance on jobs. Spokesman Taylor Budowich sent us to a familiar source: PolitiFact Wisconsin, and specifically our Walk-O-Meter which tracks the governor’s campaign promises.

Of course, the top campaign promise made by Walker is that the state would create 250,000 private-sector jobs during his four-year term. Each month we update the Walk-O-Meter using state data, for a promise that remains In the Works.

Let’s dip -- again -- into the numbers.

The Tea Party ad aired in the middle of October 2011. The latest state employment numbers available at that point said there were 2,346,800 private-sector jobs in Wisconsin in August 2011, an increase of 29,600 since Walker took office in January 2011.

On the manufacturing front, a state report said there were 450,000 manufacturing jobs in the state, up 16,100 from when Walker took office.

(We’re not using the most recent jobs report, issued Oct. 20, because the State Tea Party Express ad began to air before that report was issued. The latest report says the overall change in the number of jobs since Walker took office is 29,300, 900 fewer than the previous month.)

So, the numbers are essentially accurate, but they are just part of the groups’ claim. The group maintains those numbers are evidence of a "manufacturing-led jobs recovery."

Are we in one?

A closer look at the month-to-month numbers show the situation is not nearly as encouraging as the ad suggests.

Indeed, the state lost a net 11,600 private sector jobs in July and August. (And another 900 in September,). Even Walker’s administration recognize this as a concern. On Oct. 21 2011, the state Department of Revenue said that by 2014 the state will have added only 136,000 jobs in the private sector compared with 2010 -- far short of the 250,000 net new jobs promised.

The department’s report says the manufacturing sector has recovered about a third of the jobs lost in the recession. It projects that sector will continue to grow this year, then slow between 2012 and 2014.

"In spite of this sustained growth," the report states, "employment in this sector by the end of 2014 will still be 27,500 jobs short of its previous peak eight years ago."

Beyond all that, the Tea Party -- like Walker -- highlights the private sector jobs. But the ad does not let viewers in on that fact. There is a somewhat different picture when you look at all jobs, including public-sector ones -- police, firefighters, teachers, sanitation workers and more.

In Wisconsin, government employment as of August was 419,600, up 500 from when Walker took office. (That number tumbled in September to 409,300 - 10,000 fewer jobs than when the governor took office. That sharp decline was shown in the Oct. 20 report, after the ad began running.)

The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is 7.8 percent for September, compared with 9.1 percent nationally.

So the overall picture is not as rosy as the ad proclaims.

Our conclusion

With unemployment stubbornly high, jobs and job creation are central themes in state and national politics. In this case, the national Tea Party says Walker "created a manufacturing-led jobs recovery" that led to the "creation of 30,000 new jobs."

The numbers are essentially on the money. But the group makes a broad statement about jobs, when it is looking only at the private-sector side of the equation. What’s more, it does not reflect that the most recent months have seen a loss of jobs and the Walker administration itself sees weaknesses in the economy and future job growth.

We rate the group’s claim Half True.

Our Sources

State Tea Party Express ad, Oct. 11, 2011

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development jobs reports, August, September, 2011

PolitiFact Wisconsin, "Miller says nearly 14,000 Wisconsinites have lost their job since Governor Walker and the Republicans took over in January,"Oct. 19, 2011

Emails, telephone interview, Spokesman Taylor Budowich, spokesman, State Tea Party Express, Oct. 24, 2011

Emails, Cullen Werwie, spokesman, Gov. Scott Walker, Nov. 7, 2011

Wisconsin Department of Revenue Wisconsin Economic Outlook, Fall 2011

Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by James B. Nelson

Tea party group says Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has created a manufacturing-led jobs recovery, with 30,000 new jobs created this year

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