Is Wisconsin gaining or losing jobs? - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Is Wisconsin gaining or losing jobs?

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WAUSAU (WAOW) -

Even though the upcoming recall election got started because of collective bargaining and workers' rights, it's now all about jobs.

Television ads from both sides are making conflicting claims on how many jobs Wisconsin does or doesn't have.

Newsline 9 checked the facts.

Gov. Scott Walker didn't waste any time launching his newest television ad, touting the state's latest jobs numbers.

"Wisconsin actually gained—that's right, gained—more than 20,000 new jobs during my first year in office," said Walker in the ad.

But Democrats are also running ads, claiming the opposite.

"Wisconsin's lost more jobs than any other state," said an ad from the Tom Barrett for Governor campaign.

Both sides are technically correct. In-depth numbers from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development show the state added more than 23,000 jobs from December 2010 through December 2011.

Meantime, recent estimates from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics show a loss of almost 34,000 jobs.

We got some perspective from Randy Cray, chief economist at the Central Wisconsin Economic Research Bureau at UW-Stevens Point. Cray says either number shows basically the same thing.

"The state does not have a lot of job growth to report," said Cray.

But what's the difference between each number?

The number showing job losses comes from monthly estimates by the federal government, but only a small percentage of businesses are included in those estimates.

The figures showing a job gain come from a state survey, and most businesses in Wisconsin are included in that survey.

Ultimately, Cray says, both numbers are intertwined. The state submits its jobs data to the feds, and the feds come up with a final estimate which is released each quarter. The next report is scheduled for the end of next month, and Cray says it's very unusual Wisconsin decided to release its numbers before then.

So, for now, each ad does contain correct figures. But they're obviously spun by both sides according to what's more politically powerful for them.

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