The St. Paul paper slammed WI for jobs lost. Here's the real truth from our Assemblyman, Dean Knudson.
"You asked for some background on the recent report by the federal Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) that showed Wisconsin as the only state with job losses when comparing March 2011 to March 2012. Here are some thoughts:
Our economy is recovering but slowly, not nearly at the rate we would like. Part of this is due to the loss of "establishments" or business units during the recession. Wisconsin lost more employers than our midwestern neighbors. When an employer lays off workers, that employer can hire back when the economy improves, but when the business closes or moves out of state it will take longer to see strong job growth again.
The majority of the job loss numbers in Wisconsin are government employees. Governor Doyle ran in 2002 on the promise of cutting 10,000 government employees. That promise helped portray him as a fiscal conservative and get him elected. The number of government employees in Wisconsin was 432,400 in November 2002 when Doyle was elected. By the time Walker was elected there were 433,000 government employees in Wisconsin. The March 2012 report showed 410,200 government workers in the state, down about 23,000 since Walker's election.
Check out the lower right corner of page 4 http://dwd.wisconsin.gov/dwd/newsreleases/2012/unemployment/120419_march_state.pdf
The BLS estimate is based on surveys, unemployment data and sampling. It isn't perfect, and every estimate comes with warnings about possible sampling errors. In Wisconsin there is a great possibility for sampling error within the government sector, particularly local governments like schools. We have a handful of large districts that postponed implementation of Act 10 by extending the union contracts. These few districts have had large layoffs as a result. Any extrapolation from a sample including one of those districts would lead to large error in the estimate. No other state has this situation. The reliability of the BLS methodology in estimating the loss of government workers is not certain.
The trend is up but the job numbers have bounced up and down over the past year. March last year was strong and this March weak so our comparison to a year ago is unusually weak. Take a look at the graphs here to see the fluctuations. http://www.deptofnumbers.com/employment/wisconsin/
The CES survey is used as part of the BLS estimate. It doesn't count proprietors or self-employed persons as well as some other categories.
Employer optimism is the key and Wisconsin businesses are gradually becoming optimistic. Getting the recall behind us should help even further. Just this morning I talked with the owner of a tool & die company in business for 13 years. Last year was a record year, but they did it without adding employees because of hesitance to commit to new hiring. Our challenge is to get small business owners like him ready to invest, expand and hire. We have work to do. None of the Democrats have a plan. Unless maybe to hire back the 23,000 government workers.
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