According to the latest figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Wisconsin lost 13,200 jobs in June, including 11,700 private sector jobs, while the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Wisconsin went up in June, 2012 to 7.0% compared to 6.8% in May, 2012.
Ouch. Poor Reggie Newson. He is the current Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development and he is tasked every month with portraying Wisconsin’s employment statistics in the best light possible. In the past, Sec. Newson’s strategy has been to cherry pick and highlight only the good news. This month there are no cherries, so Newson decided to serve up a tossed salad of mixed, unrelated, and irrelevant statistics, then drown it in a syrupy-sweet dressing to hide the inedible parts.
His press release announcing the newest monthly preliminary numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (for June, 2012) and the revised numbers from the previous month (May, 2012) talks about “place of work” data, which is confusing since that includes out-of-state residents who work in Wisconsin. It also mentions the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, which is probably the most accurate, benchmarked measure, but has nothing to do with the current situation since it only goes through December, 2011. It’s based on a survey of Wisconsin employers and also includes jobs held by people who work in Wisconsin but don’t live in Wisconsin.
Sandwiched in between is “place of residence data”, which measures employment and unemployment figures for Wisconsin residents who are currently working or looking for work. This is what matters to Wisconsinites, and the bottom line is this. Walker is continuing on a slide that is taking him further and further from reaching his stated goal of creating 250,000 new private-sector jobs in his first term.
To be fair, the unemployment rate is not always the best measure of the jobs situation since it doesn’t include people leaving the labor force by moving out of state or just giving up looking for work, but since Walker and Newson loved to highlight it when it was going down it seems appropriate to mention it when it goes up. So far today, no tweets about the June unemployment rate from either Walker or Newson. The national unemployment rate during the same period stayed the same at 8.2%, so another favorite tactic of Walker – blaming all bad news on President Obama – would be a stretch. I guess he and Sec. Newson are finding this month’s employment-data salad a little hard to swallow.
The real losers, of course, are Wiscosnin’s unemployed workers. They need work, but Walker’s jobs plan now consists of hoping, praying, and imploring twitter users to vote for Wisconsin in CNBC’s online survey of “Best States to Do Business.”