Introducing President Barack Obama in Milwaukee, Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Mary Burke touted economic growth nationwide when compared to that in Wisconsin under Gov. Scott Walker:
"The nation as a whole has created jobs at a rate that is two times the rate that we have created jobs here in Wisconsin under Gov. Walker."
Asked to back up the claim, the Burke campaign pointed us to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ quarterly employment surveys. That data is considered the most reliable measure of jobs, though it is less timely than that from separate monthly employment surveys.
The campaign told us the statistics show U.S. growth at "nearly twice the rate" of Wisconsin. Burke, though, was more definitive at the rally, saying "two times the rate."
Burke’s phrasing of the talking point has changed.
In early 2014, she said the latest data from the quarterly surveys showed the national rate was "nearly double" Wisconsin’s rate. At that point, she quoted a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story that came to the same conclusion after Wisconsin reported 1 percent growth compared with 1.9% nationally from June 2012 to June 2013.
At the time, that was the latest available data, due to the lag time in the release of the detailed quarterly numbers,
We crunched the same numbers the Burke campaign cited, examining private-sector employment, which has been the central focus of both candidates’ plans.
Figures show that from the start of Walker’s term to the end of his third year, the national gain was 6.6 percent compared to Wisconsin’s 4.1 percent. That meant the U.S. growth was 1.6 times that of Wisconsin’s.
In the most recent year (March 2013 to March 2014), Wisconsin’s growth rate was 1.3 percent, compared with the U.S. rate of 2.1 percent. Same result: the national rate was 1.6 times better.
As we examined year-over-year growth at different quarterly vantage points, we repeatedly saw growth 1.6 to 1.7 times larger for the national figures.
(We also looked at results from another government jobs survey, the monthly reports. They are more up to date -- through September 2014 -- but less reliable. They, too, show, national growth at 1.6 times the state’s, from the start of Walker’s term.)
There were some smaller and larger differences at various points along the way. Annual growth rates in the United States in 2011, 2012 and 2013, and into early 2014 ranged from 1.2 to 2 times larger than Wisconsin’s.
The high point was from September 2011 to September 2012, when the rate was twice that of Wisconsin.
Burke claimed that "the nation as a whole has created jobs at a rate that is two times the rate that we have created jobs here in Wisconsin under Gov. Walker."
Wisconsin lags behind the nation significantly, but for the most part quite not as badly as Burke says, based on the last year and on results from most of Walker’s term.
We rate the claim Half True.