Walker 'cautiously optimistic' in January job growth

Published On: Mar 09 2012 08:19:52 AM CST   Updated On: Mar 08 2012 06:15:35 PM CST

LA CROSSE, Wis. – Gov. Scott Walker was in La Crosse on Thursday recognizing Authenticom, a data processing company for the automotive sector as a recipient of a state issued tax credit that is making way for 50 new jobs.

His visit is also on the same day the latest Wisconsin jobs report was released showing growth in the private sector and a dip in unemployment for the month of January.

But Wisconsin isn't in the clear just yet. While many agree this new numbers show positive signs for job growth in the state some are concerned the decisions made now may turn those numbers back around in the future

There is some encouraging news on the Wisconsin Job front and Walker is taking it as motivation.

“We're always cautiously optimistic,” said Walker. We want to see that growth continue we want to make sure we keep the healthy environment for creating jobs in the state."

The latest numbers show Wisconsin added 15,700 private sector jobs in January.

Some of the biggest gains came from the industries hardest hit by the recession.

Wisconsin added 4,200 more construction jobs and 3,700 more in manufacturing.

The unemployment rate also dipped to its newest low since 2008 to 6.9 percent.

“That still means too many of our people in the state, too many of our friends, too many of our neighbors and in some cases our family members are looking for work and announcements like today will hopefully give them more hope,” said Walker.

And Rep. Steve Doyle from Onalaska says while the new numbers are encouraging, more needs to be done.

“The governor had pledged to create 250,000 new jobs in Wisconsin,” said Doyle. “We're a long ways away from that, but I think that's a good goal. I think we should keep that out there and we should keep striving for that number.”

But not all areas saw gains. The state lost 3,200 public sector jobs in January and if something doesn't change, that number could grow.

“I'm real concerned that the dramatic cuts that we've seen in our K-12 plus our university and our tech schools in the long run are going to make those numbers turn around to be a negative,” said Doyle. “So I think we want to revisit those things and continue to have quality schools in Wisconsin.”

It was also previously reported that Wisconsin was the only state in the U.S. to have lost private sector jobs for six consecutive months last year. This new report says that's not entirely true. In September the state actually added about 300 jobs.

The numbers released Thursday also show Wisconsin added only 6,000 private-sector jobs during the first 13 months of Governor Walker's administration.