Gov. Scott Walker may not create the 250,000 jobs by 2015 as promised as a keystone of his campaign, according to a Department of Revenue report released Friday.
The report said the government will have created 136,000 private sector jobs by 2014. Since the recovery period began in February 2010, 42,800 jobs were created, and about one-fourth of those were lost in the recession. In recent months, recovery has slowed in Wisconsin and the nation, according to the report.
The report also said that by 2015 there will be 200,000 more people living in the state, but the same number of jobs as in 2008.
Jay Heck, director of watchdog group Common Cause in Wisconsin, said the report shows that Walker focused on issues other than job creation during his first months in office.
“Walker’s central promise was to create jobs in Wisconsin, and he spent an awful lot of time doing other things rather than creating jobs,” Heck said. “Perhaps if he spent more time doing what he promised to do, the report would have been more optimistic.”
Andrew Welhouse, spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, said the report highlighted the first year of growth after three years of decline.
The report forecasted a 1.1 percent increase in employment for 2011.
“We all know that there’s still work to be done, but we’re moving in the right direction,” Welhouse said.
According to the report, the current economic forecast predicts an unemployment rate of 7.7 percent in 2011 and 7.8 percent in 2012.
Welhouse said the economic predictions are susceptible to change.
“These forecasts change every time, they’re obviously not set in stone,” Welhouse said. “It’s just a projection and we hope the things we’ve been doing will turn into results that are better than the expectations.”
Welhouse said the Legislature’s special session is focusing on creating an environment for businesses to grow and several bills have been introduced to accomplish that goal.
Heck said the special session legislation contained several bills that do nothing to promote job creation.
“These are bills that have to do with abortion and other things that further divide the people of this state rather then bring them together in a common goal to improve the economy,” Heck said.