Political controversy surrounding recent jobs report

Political controversy surrounding recent jobs report

By Charles Benson. CREATED May 16, 2012 - UPDATED: May 16, 2012

MILWAUKEE- One of the biggest fights in the historic recall election is over jobs.  On Wednesday the state Department of Workforce Development released that more than 23,000 jobs were added in Wisconsin between December 2010 and December 2011.

That's a big difference from the numbers earlier this month that showed a loss of 33,000 jobs. The discrepancy has both sides on the attack.

Governor Scott Walker was up with a new TV ad touting the new jobs numbers just hours after they were announced.

Walker defended the timing of the numbers and questioned any criticism from his opponents.
"The only politics is coming from the mayor, " said Governor Walker.  "They (Democrats) are desperate because the biggest issue they thought they had against us now suddenly isn't there."

The higher jobs number reflects a larger survey of 150,000 businesses versus the smaller monthly samples of selected businesses.  But Democratic opponent and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is suspicious.

"This job's report he (Governor Walker) is putting out is really all about one job, his job," said Barrett.

The Democratic Party of Wisconsin filed a complaint with the Government Accountability Board Wednesday suggesting Walker's campaign illegally used state resources to get the jobs numbers before anyone else for the TV ad.

Walker's campaign says not so, saying various versions of the ad were shot before the final numbers were known.

But the chair of Marquette University's economics department is surprised by the timing of the release.

"The reason the data was released by the state government today is because of political considerations," said Dr. Abdur Chowdhury, "because the actual data was supposed to be released on June 28, which is after the recall election."

The man who released the numbers was appointed by Governor Walker.  Secretary Reggie Newson says it was his decision and his decision alone to release the numbers early.


Charles Benson

Charles Benson

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Charles Benson is one of the most reliable, trusted and experienced reporters in southeast Wisconsin. If there's a big story going on, Charles is usually there leading the way.