It’s well known that Gov. Scott Walker has faltered on his top 2010 campaign promise of creating 250,000 private-sector jobs in his first term. With his re-election looming in November 2014, he’s less than halfway there.
So when state Rep. Brett Hulsey announced he was running in the Democratic primary to challenge Walker, it would seem he had an easy issue to raise. But even when running a shoestring campaign, those shoestrings can trip you up.
In an April 30, 2014 news release -- issued at a time when the state GOP was poised to vote on a resolution proclaiming the right to secede from the United States -- Hulsey declared: "Governor Walker’s Reign of Error has made Wisconsin 2nd in the nation in losing jobs. To create a better future for our children, we should strive to be the best in the United States, not leave it."
As evidence of his jobs claim, Hulsey cited a March 30, 2014 article from The Capital Times that discussed the Bureau of Labor Statistics monthly jobs report for February of 2014.
That report said Wisconsin lost an estimated 9,500 jobs in February. Only North Carolina at 11,300 was worst; Alaska at 2,300 placed third. (These figures include both private-sector and government jobs. Walker’s campaign promise focused only on private sector jobs.)
So, at least in terms of the February report, Hulsey’s claim was on point.
But the jobs count cited in the article was based on monthly numbers, which are derived from a small sample of employers and often subject to dramatic changes.
And Hulsey did not specify a month in his claim. Rather, he expressed it as a current condition.
Indeed, by the time Hulsey made his statement the estimates for March were already out, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics had also revised the February figures. Two things in those numbers stand out:
-- Wisconsin’s jobs number for February actually worsened with the revision, and the state fell behind North Carolina to the top, er, bottom spot.
-- But the March figures said the state added 6,900 jobs in March. As for the No. 2 loser title, that month it belonged to Virginia (-5,000) which followed Pennsylvania (-8,400)
By either measure, Hulsey was wrong -- in one case slightly so, in the other wildly so.
Hulsey said Walker "has made Wisconsin 2nd in the nation in losing jobs."
He cherry-picked a report for a single month but spoke of it as a longer-term trend. What’s more, the data was already outdated at the time, so he was wrong when he said it.
We rate his statement False.