Wisconsin jobs and unemployment up in latest federal monthly report

Wisconsin added 12,100 jobs in February but saw its unemployment rate rise, according to figures released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The data, part of the Current Employment Statistics report, showed Wisconsin with a statistically significant gain of 0.2 percent in employment between January and February.

Regional and state unemployment rates were little changed in February. Twenty-two states had unemployment rate decreases, 12 states had increases, and 16 states and the District of Columbia had no change, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Thirty-seven states and the District of Columbia had unemployment rate decreases from a year earlier, 10 states had increases, and 3 states had no change. The national jobless rate, 7.7 percent, edged down from January and was 0.6 percentage point lower than in February 2012.

Since Gov. Scott Walker took office in January 2011, the state has added 64,500 jobs, according to the seasonally adjusted federal numbers. The number has been widely tracked since Walker's election because of his campaign pledge to bring 250,000 new jobs to the state.

Wisconsin was one of two states with a statistically significant jump in unemployment rate for February, up 0.2 percent from January to 7.2 percent. Between January and February, unemployment was up 6,500 to 218,700 while the labor force was up 6,400 to 3,057,100.

Illinois was the other state with a significant jump in unemployment rate, up 0.5 percent from January to 9.5 percent. The national unemployment rate for February was 7.7 percent.

That report comes on the heels of one Thursday that showed Wisconsin was 44th nationally in job creation for the private sector and that its average weekly wages fell 2.65 percent between September 2011 and September 2012.

Those numbers were based on the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, which is a survey of around 96 percent of nonfarm employers. The Current Employment Statistics report, in contrast, reflects a survey of a small percentage of employers.

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