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Top Wisconsin Economist: State Is Gaining Jobs

More reliable report reveals better jobs numbers for Wisconsin.

7:58 PM, May 16, 2012 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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Koskinen was asked if the unemployment rate might be going down because of discouraged dropping out of the workforce (a phenomenon that's played a huge role in bringing down the national unemployment rate). But that isn't the case in Wisconsin. "Our workforce has actually been expanding over the last six months," Koskinen said. "The total workforce has expanded, number of people employed has expanded, and the number of people unemployed has fallen--sort of the ideal situation that you want."

"If Wisconsin was in fact losing 30,000 jobs... one would expect that we would have increasing unemployment compensation claims. That's not true," Koskinen said. "We're starting to get back to pre-recession levels--those are the continuing claims. Indeed, if we think in terms of initial [unemployment] claims, which is the new records, we have in fact fallen below pre-recession levels."

Koskinen also noted that "our biggest gains have been in manufacturing--far and away." 

It's understandable that some might be leery of the accuracy of an alternative jobs report three weeks prior to an election. But all evidence points to the conclusion that Koskinen and the Quarterly Census are correct: Wisconsin is gaining jobs. With the facts against them, Wisconsin Democrats are now resorting to accusations that Walker is guilty of "illegal coordination" with the state agency in releasing the jobs numbers early. But the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel asked the Bureau of Labor Statistics if the state broke any rules by releasing the numbers now. "No," an official emailed the Journal, "BLS does not have any concerns. Wisconsin is free to publish its data when it wishes."

*Correction: This report originally stated that John Koskinen signed the Walker recall petition. According to a reliable source, the John Koskinen who signed the petition is the son of the chief economist at the Department of Revenue.

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