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Five days after Scott Walker won re-election by a five-point margin, inciting speculation about whether he’ll run for president in 2016, the Republican governor appeared on NBC’s "Meet the Press."
Several minutes into the Nov. 9, 2014 show, Walker was asked by host Chuck Todd about Wisconsin’s economic record and whether it is "something that translates nationally."
Walker responded with statistics about how jobs have increased during his first term and unemployment has decreased. (He also went on to make a number of claims that we’ve previously fact-checked).
Todd interjected by returning to the national perspective and making a claim of his own.
"But I’ve got to show you," he told Walker, as a graphic with figures appeared on the screen, "compared to the national average, when it comes to wage growth, it's below the national average, Wisconsin is. When it comes to job growth, it's below the national average."
How Wisconsin's economy compares nationally could bear on Walker’s viability as a presidential contender, a prospect he has readily encouraged.
So let’s check both sets of figures.
The graphic that flashed on the screen cited figures from the latest U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages report, which compared March 2013 to March 2014.
On job growth, the "Meet the Press" graphic said Wisconsin’s rate from increased 1 percent, less than the national average of 1.7 percent.
The so-called QCEW numbers are considered the most accurate source for jobs numbers, but lag behind real time by six to nine months.
The graphic quoted the figures accurately, according to a news release from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Walker’s office didn’t dispute this part of Todd’s claim, but said most states had job growth during the period that was at or below the national average.
The graphic also accurately cited the average changes in wage growth from March 2013 to March 2014 -- 2.9 percent in Wisconsin, which was behind the national average of 3.8 percent.
It doesn’t affect the accuracy of Todd’s statement, but we decided to use the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ database to take a longer view on both job and wage growth to see how Wisconsin and the United States have compared during Walker’s nearly four years as governor.
The quarterly time frames don’t match up precisely with Walker’s time in office because, as we noted, there is a lag of several months in reporting the figures. But when compared March 2011 to March 2014, and December 2010 to December 2013, the results were essentially the same: Wisconsin has lagged the national average on job growth, but was slightly higher on wage growth.
Citing statistics for the most recent year, Todd said Wisconsin is below the national average in wage growth and job growth.
The latest federal figures, comparing March 2013 to March 2014, show Wisconsin’s job growth rate at 1 percent, below the national average of 1.7 percent, and its wage growth rate at 2.9 percent, behind the national average of 3.8 percent.
We rate Todd’s statement True.
Email exchange, "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd, Nov. 24, 2014
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, news release, Sept. 18, 2014
Email exchange, Gov. Scott Walker spokeswoman Laurel Patrick, Nov. 19, 2014
PolitiFact Wisconsin, "Mary Burke says wages are declining in Wisconsin at double the rate of other states," March 31, 2014
PolitiFact Wisconsin, "Mary Burke says Wisconsin ranks last in Midwest job growth," Aug. 31, 2014
PolitiFact Wisconsin, "Mary Burke says job growth has gotten worse every year of Scott Walker’s term," Oct. 8, 2014
PolitiFact Wisconsin, "Mary Burke is last in Midwest job growth under latest figures," Oct. 3, 2014
PolitiFact Wisconsin, "Walker sticks to claim on Midwest job growth," Oct. 9, 2014
PolitiFact Wisconsin, "Scott Walker says September job growth is largest September increase in over a decade," Oct. 29, 2014
PolitiFact Wisconsin, "Scott Walker says 2013 job growth in Wisconsin was best since 1990s," April 27, 2014
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