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Monday, August 20, 2012

State lost 6,500 jobs in July, Bureau of Labor Statistics reports

Wisconsin lost 6,500 jobs in July, according to a monthly survey of employment by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The monthly estimates have been criticized for being less accurate than quarterly figures taken from businesses’ state tax and unemployment reports.

But the three-month picture for the first quarter of 2012 wasn’t good, either. The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development reported Aug. 16 that close to 51,000 jobs were lost between Jan. 1 and March 31.

Despite the downturn, Wisconsin has added about 28,000 jobs overall in the past year.

But the state has had a net loss of 27,000 jobs since December 2010, the month prior to Gov. Scott Walker coming into office. Walker promised he would help create 250,000 jobs before the end of his four-year term. He’s nearing the half-way point of the term, with no progress to date.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Wisconsin ended 2011 with 2,689,565 jobs. The bureau said the state ranked 40th in job creation in 2011.

Unemployment rises

Wisconsin’s unemployment rate rose to 7.3 percent in July. That’s up 0.3 from from June, and up 0.5 percent from May.

Preliminary figures showed that the state lost 6,000 private sector jobs and 500 government jobs last month. That’s based on a federal survey of just 3.5 percent of the state’s employers.

The initial figures are often heavily revised, but the June revision didn’t bode well for the Badger State, either. It showed a net loss of 11,300 jobs for the month.

State officials have questioned the credibility of the initial numbers, the ones that get the most publicity and political commentary.

Gov. Scott Walker has said that a much more accurate figure comes from the quarterly census that includes data from 95 percent of employers.

Governor on ‘CBS This Morning’

Gov. Walker went on “CBS This Morning” Friday, Aug. 17, and said it’s “ridiculous” that Mitt Romney is being pressured to release more years of his income tax returns.

Democrats are pressuring the GOP presidential candidate to release more than the complete 2010 returns and the 2011 summary that he’s put out already.

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid has said he was told that Romney paid no taxes for a decade.

While campaigning in South Carolina Thursday, Romney said he reviewed his taxes, and he has never paid less than 13 percent of his actual income to the federal government.

Walker tossed the issue aside and said, “Voters in my state want to hear what you’re going to do to turn things around, and only Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan really have a substantive plan to do that, for small businesses to put people back to work.”

Walker also discussed the possibility that Ryan would generate votes for Romney and help the GOP win the state’s presidential vote for the first time since 1984.

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