Two reports from the Department of Workforce Development released Thursday painted conflicting pictures regarding the state of jobs in the state, as one showed job gains over the span of a year but job losses in October.
Wisconsin lost 7,500 jobs in October, with 6,000 jobs lost in the private sector and 1,500 in government jobs. These numbers are derived from a survey of 3.5 percent of the state’s employers. The other part of the monthly jobs data, a survey of 1,450 households, showed Wisconsin’s unemployment rate dropped from 7.3 percent to 6.9 percent.
In another report, DWD showed from June 2011 to June 2012, the state gained 35,379 private sector jobs and 2,153 government jobs. Those figures are not seasonally adjusted, so they must be compared in yearlong spans.
The three sectors with the largest gains in that time span included natural resources and mining, manufacturing and leisure and hospitality, while construction and information sectors saw the largest losses.
Once again, those quarterly numbers did not match up with the monthly numbers, which showed a loss of 13,700 private sector jobs from June 2011 to June 2012.
Many consider the quarterly figures to be more accurate than the monthly numbers, as the quarterly figures come from a survey of about 96 percent of the state’s employers, while the monthly numbers come from a survey of about 3.5 percent of Wisconsin employers.
DWD Secretary Reggie Newson said in the statement he was pleased with the quarterly numbers, which the department frequently calls “actual jobs data.” He also cautioned state legislators to consider economic problems outside of the state as they pass jobs legislation in the next session.
“Even [with the jobs gains in the quarterly data], the looming ‘fiscal cliff’ in Washington, along with continued uncertainty over financial markets worldwide, could have effects on our national and state economy,” Newson said. “It will be important for us to track this activity carefully even as we advance efforts to support job creation in Wisconsin.”
Laura Dresser, associate director of the Center on Wisconsin Strategy, said the monthly jobs numbers should not be discounted, as both the monthly and quarterly numbers are useful.
Monthly jobs losses like the ones shown recently, she said, might translate into lesser job gains in the next quarterly report. She added although the quarterly numbers are showing gains, there are still many job losses to make up since the 2007 recession.
Gov. Scott Walker promised during his election that by the end of his term, the state would have 250,000 new jobs, a target some say might not be met.
Rep. Dean Kaufert, R-Neenah, said with Walker’s reforms, Wisconsin has become a business-friendly state, but the Legislature’s next session would focus on getting more jobs to the state and trying to meet Walker’s goal.
“I know that talking with my colleagues, that’s what people are talking about is creating a good business climate where companies are going to want to come to Wisconsin,” Kaufert said. “[We will] hopefully get close to that 250,000 that was promised. … We are going to do whatever we can.”