Verified jobs data released; more confirmation of Walker’s poor “relationship with the truth”

Amidst the media whirlwind surrounding the US Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act, the verified quarterly jobs data was released today by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This data has been highly anticipated in light of Scott Walker’s politicization of it during the recall campaign. As reported on June 8 (“New documents released by DWD prove Scott Walker lied about early released jobs numbers“), the data now released by the BLS concurs with documents obtained by Badger Democracy from Wisconsin DWD – and is further proof of Scott Walker’s poor “relationship with the truth” (as Russ Feingold stated during the campaign).

Walker has been insistent in his jobs claims, especially during the election – citing this exact data (QCEW report) for gains of 23,321 jobs. The verified data shows that Scott Walker overstated the actual job growth by nearly 25%. Wisconsin only gained 19,551 jobs in 2011 – still putting us last in job growth in the US.

All data was retrieved from the BLS QCEW reports on June 28, 2012.

The data released today was very close to the data submitted to BLS by DWD earlier this year (see June 8 Badger Democracy blog for the DWD-submitted data):

QCEW 2010-2011 report:

Year Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Annual
2010 2554758 2554127 2568348 2618084 2653196 2686827 2632995 2643127 2661328 2681100 2678957 2670014 2633572
2011 2593358 2593428 2610854 2651421 2679706 2712135 2666362 2678997 2701047 2699946 2696251 2689565 2664423

In spite of consistent job growth during 2010, the growth stagnates in May 2011, then retreats in the 4th Quarter of 2011 – the first full quarter after enactment of the Walker Budget. From October – December 2011, Wisconsin lost 10,000 jobs; losing over half its annual gains in one quarter.

Scott Walker’s press release today tried putting a positive spin on this abysmal job performance data:

The federally published BLS jobs total for Wisconsin in December 2011 is virtually identical to the data BLS signed off on last month—a difference of 16 out of a total of almost 2.7 million jobs counted in themonth—reaffirming that Wisconsin added thousands of jobs last year.”

The first section of that statement is patently false. BLS only verified their completion of the verification process – no numbers were verified (statement from Richard Clayton, BLS Chief of QCEW data). The “…difference of 16 out of a total of almost 2.7 million jobs counted…” refers to the difference in what state DWD reported to BLS (see the June 8 blog for comparison) – not what Walker was citing as job gains. In that June 8 analysis, Badger Democracy concluded “…that (number of jobs created from 2010-2011) is only between 19,248 and 19,535.”  The DWD number reported to BLS of 19,535 was only off by 16. Walker’s claim during the campaign was off by 4,000 – nearly 25%.

Continuing with the Walker statement:

“The finalized, federal data clearly shows that Wisconsin gained thousands of jobs in 2011.  This is acomplete turnaround from the more than 100,000 jobs lost in the three years before I took office.”

Since Scott Walker won’t, let’s set the record straight. In 2008 (3 years before Walker took office), the QCEW 2007-2011 report shows Wisconsin peaked at 2.84 million employed in June. In January 2010, that number had dropped to 2.55 million employed. That, Governor, is over 250,000 jobs lost. Laura Dresser from the Center on Wisconsin Strategy has consistently stated that Wisconsin needs 250,000 jobs NOW just to get back to 2007 employment levels. The data confirm this statement.

Scott Walker intentionally overstated (even as he would have known different) the job gains from this report by nearly 4,000 – a significant difference. Had Walker cited the 19,535 number from the preliminary report, that would be an accurate statement. As it stands – his intent was to overstate and deceive.

Scott Walker has intentionally buried the fact that in the 4th Quarter of 2011, Wisconsin lost 10,000 jobs. The media have never once asked that question of the Governor.

The factual nature of this data will be ignored by the Capitol Press, mainstream media, the Walker Administration, and the GOP. The cost – Wisconsin will continue to be plagued by a long-term, persistent unemployment problem. Much of this problem is unreported as people have been unemployed too long to receive benefits, or have dropped out of the system as “discouraged.”

When over 250,000 jobs are needed to get back to 2007 levels – a gain of 19,000 jobs in one year is dismal in the context of such a long-term problem. The recent CES 2007-2012 data  shows little variance from the QCEW data; and worse for Wisconsin, confirms the pattern of stagnation in job growth. If Scott Walker had any real interest in job creation; he would stop staging ideological social warfare, and work with Democrats, Independents, and Progressives to find solutions.

Which proves – the Walker agenda has nothing to do with economic recovery, or job creation.

(For the record, the Walker administration was twice contacted for comment on this information, no response was received)

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2 Comments

  1. If a person retires and a new person is hired to replace him, is that counted as a gain?

    Reply
    • Yes, it would end up being a net gain…that’s why the workforce and employed numbers are so important – the rate doesn’t tell the whole story. There is also a measure of rate for employed/population. For example, if the workforce numbers are stagnant, and employment numbers are stagnant, that’s a problem – because the population is always growing, and there are more people who should be entering the workforce. We have a big problem, because not only are we 250,000 jobs behind – but people are dropping out of the workforce. We have more people with college degrees than we did 4 years ago, and less jobs for them. A retiree can opt out of the workforce from a $75,000/year job – and when a 20 year old gets a $10/hr job, its a net gain in the rate. Also noteworthy – according to Laura Dresser at COWS, real wages in WI fell 5% last year. Up 1.1% nationally.

      Reply

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