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By Taylor Palmby July 23, 2018

Gubernatorial candidate Kelda Roys falsely attacks Scott Walker for loss in manufacturing jobs

Democratic gubernatorial candidates have been taking shots at Republican Gov. Scott Walker since the race began.

Kelda Roys, a former state representative from Madison and one of eight Democratic contenders, has been sharp with criticism as it relates to jobs and the economy.

At a May 15, 2018 meet-and-greet in downtown Madison, she told those in attendance: "Just last year alone, we lost 4,000 manufacturing jobs."

That echoed a claim from a series of tweets on April 18, 2018.

In one tweet, Roys wrote: "Households in Wisconsin have paid over $500 for one of Walker’s corporate tax giveaways. Much of the giveaway went to just a handful of the richest Wisconsinites and it didn’t stop our state from losing almost 4,000 manufacturing jobs in 2017."

Manufacturing jobs are critical to Wisconsin’s economy.

According to the most recent annual data from December 2017, the state ranks 9th in the nation in total manufacturing jobs -- and those jobs are responsible for 16 percent of total employment in the state.

So, did Wisconsin really lose 4,000 manufacturing jobs in 2017?

Campaign admits error

When we contacted the Roys campaign to ask for backup to the claim, communications director Brian Evans basically said, "Oops."

"The tweet should have said 2016 instead of 2017, and we fully admit that this was an error on our part," Evans said in an email to PolitiFact Wisconsin.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics and its Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, Wisconsin lost 3,726 manufacturing jobs between December 2015 and December 2016.

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So, if Roys had actually focused on 2016 instead of 2017 her claim would be on target.

Even then, that gives a narrow picture of what has happened with manufacturing jobs under Walker.

Other years

From December 2016 to December 2017, the most recent full year available, Wisconsin gained 8,032 manufacturing jobs, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said. This was a 1.7 percent increase in manufacturing jobs, bringing the statewide total to 469,453.

In 2017, Wisconsin ranked 7th among states with the highest percentage of growth in manufacturing jobs.

While we have the charts out, how has Walker done since taking office?

In December 2010, the month before Walker took office, there were 434,723 manufacturing jobs. In December 2017, the most recent full-year available, there were 469,453.

That’s a 34,730 -- or 8 percent -- increase.

Our rating

On Twitter and on the campaign trail, Roys has said Wisconsin lost nearly 4,000 manufacturing jobs in 2017.

Roys has her years mixed up -- and her campaign admits it.

While Roys would have been right for 2016, growth in 2017 was roughly double the loss in 2016. Compared to the start of Walker’s term, there has been an 8 percent increase in manufacturing employment.

We rate her claim False. 

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Wisconsin lost "almost 4,000 manufacturing jobs in 2017."
In a speech, tweet
Wednesday, April 18, 2018

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Gubernatorial candidate Kelda Roys falsely attacks Scott Walker for loss in manufacturing jobs

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