Days after state officials cheered a revision to the federal jobs estimates, those same numbers are showing Wisconsin still near the bottom in its slow recovery from the recession — and heading in the wrong direction.
The Badger State ranks 44th nationally in job growth over the past two years and behind all neighboring states, according to updated figures released Monday from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The new numbers, based on the most accurate current measures available, show Wisconsin with an estimated 2,790,000 non-farm positions as of January 2013 — up 44,600 jobs or 1.6 percent since January 2011 when Gov. Scott Walker took office.
By comparison, Indiana ranked No. 9 with a 3.8 percent job growth rate over the past two years; Minnesota was No. 10 with 3.7 percent growth; Michigan was No. 12 at 3.6 percent; Iowa was No. 24 at 2.9 percent and Illinois No. 30 at 2.3 percent job growth.
The job numbers in Wisconsin have taken on added political significance because of Gov. Walker’s much-publicized vow to create 250,000 new jobs during his four-year term, in part through tax cuts and deregulation measures.
Our Capital Times interactive database tracking job growth in Wisconsin has been updated to reflect the latest numbers.
The latest BLS figures show Wisconsin is actually losing ground compared to other states since the recession began in December 2007. Going back four years, the state actually ranks a more respectable 30th in job growth since then. Those numbers also suggest Wisconsin didn’t lose jobs as quickly as other states during the recession but is now adding them more slowly.
On Thursday, state Department of Workforce Development Secretary Reggie Newson had issued a statement critical of the BLS, saying that the federal record-gathering agency has been dramatically underestimating the number of jobs in Wisconsin.
Newson then applauded the fact that the annual “benchmarking” process — where estimates drawn from surveys from 3 percent of employers are checked against actual unemployment insurance data from 97 percent of employers — showed Wisconsin with 67,100 more jobs as of December than previously thought.
But other states also had their figures updated by the BLS as well, leaving Wisconsin still lagging most other states in creating new jobs.
North Dakota leads the nation in job growth over the past two years, with its fossil-fueled energy sector helping that state to a 13.3 growth rate over that period. Utah, Texas, Colorado and Tennessee are the rest of the top five.
The worst state for job growth is Maine at 0.4 percent, with New Mexico, Alabama, Missouri, Arkansas and Pennsylvania all doing worse than Wisconsin over the past two years.
In addition to lagging on job growth, Wisconsin also saw its unemployment rate jump to 7 percent in January, up from 6.7 percent in December. The state added an estimated 12,400 private-sector jobs in January but lost an estimated 10,600 government jobs in the month, a net gain of 1,800 new non-farm jobs.
The national rate fell to 7.8 percent in February, down from 7.9 percent in January. The state unemployment data for February has not been released yet.
Here are explanations of the industry sectors included:
Sum of 11 industry sectors. Jobs in the farming industry can fluctuate and therefore are excluded.
All nonfarm jobs except those in government.
Mining and Logging
Jobs in agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting, mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction.
Jobs in the construction of buildings or engineering products, including highways and utility systems.
Jobs in the mechanical, physical or chemical transformation of materials, substances or components into new products.
Manufacturing » Durable Goods
A subsector of Manufacturing, jobs that produce goods expected to last more than three years such as cars, furniture and construction materials.
Manufacturing » Non-Durable Goods
A subsector of Manufacturing, jobs that produce goods expected to last three years or less such as food and clothing.
Trade, Transportation and Utilities
Jobs involving the sale of merchandise, transportation of passengers and cargo and utilities service.
Trade, Transportation and Utilities » Wholesale Trade
A subsector of Trade, Transportation and Utilities, jobs that are involved in the intermediate step of the distribution of merchandise, selling to other businesses.
Trade, Transportation and Utilities » Retail Trade
A subsector of Trade, Transportation and Utilities, jobs that are involved in the final step of the distribution of merchandise, selling in small quantities to the general public.
Trade, Transportation and Utilities » Transportation and Utilities
A subsector of Trade, Transportation and Utilities, jobs that are involved in transportation of passengers and cargo or jobs in electric power, natural gas, steam supply, water supply and sewage removal.
Jobs in producing and distributing information and cultural products, providing the means to transmit or distribute these products as well as data or communications, and processing data.
Jobs involved in financial transactions or the sale, rent or lease of property.
Financial Activities » Real Estate and Rental and Leasing
A subsector of Financial Activities, jobs involved in the sale, rent or lease of real estate or other property.
Professional and Business Services
Jobs that provide services to clients.
Professional and Business Services » Professional, Scientific and Technical Services
A subsector of Professional and Business Services, jobs that specialize in performing professional, scientific or technical services for others.
Professional and Business Services » Administrative and Support and Waste Management and Remediation Services
A subsector of Professional and Business Services, jobs that support the day-to-day activities of other organizations.
Education and Health Services
Jobs in establishments that provide instruction and training or health care and social assistance.
Education and Health Services » Educational Services
A subsector of Education and Health Services, jobs in establishments that provide instruction and training, either public or private.
Education and Health Services » Health Care and Social Assistance
A subsector of Education and Health Services, jobs in establishments that provide health care and social assistance for individuals.
Leisure and Hospitality
Jobs in providing services to meet cultural, entertainment and recreational interests, lodging or food and beverage for immediate consumption.
Leisure and Hospitality » Arts, Entertainment and Recreation
A subsector of Leisure and Hospitality, jobs in providing services to meet cultural, entertainment and recreational interests.
Leisure and Hospitality » Accommodation and Food Services
A subsector of Leisure and Hospitality, jobs in establishments that provide lodging or food-and-beverage service for immediate consumption.
Jobs in areas not covered by other sectors and not in public administration.
Jobs in establishments of federal, state and local governments that manage public programs and have ruling authority.
Government » Federal Government
A subsector of Government, jobs in the executive branch of the federal government.
Government » State Government
A subsector of Government, jobs in state governments.
Government » Local Government
A subsector of Government, jobs in local governments.