Wisconsin News

Spotlight on jobs in recall campaign

LA CROSSE, Wis. -- Is Wisconsin gaining or losing jobs?

It depends on which numbers you believe.

On Wednesday, the state's department of workforce development released its latest jobs report.

It shows a growth of 7,000 jobs in the last month and about 18,000 more jobs than this time last year.

That goes in contrast to numbers released yesterday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Those numbers said Wisconsin has lost about 24,000 jobs during the last year.

The issue has provided fuel to the political fire in recent weeks and is the focus of several political ads in the race for Wisconsin governor.

Both parties say the numbers favor their side.

While it's taking center stage, some are wondering if it really should be.

You've seen the multiple ads all saying something different about the job outlook in Wisconsin.

One ad by Friends of Scott Walker features the governor saying "Wisconsin's unemployment rate is the lowest it's been since 2008."

In contrast, an ad by the Greater Wisconsin Political fund says, "Most state's gained jobs last year but under Gov. Walker, Wisconsin lost more jobs than any other state."

It's become a focal point of the Wisconsin governor recall election campaign.

"Jobs is clearly the No. 1 issue we have in the state of Wisconsin," said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.


With so many numbers, saying so many different things, what should you believe?

UW-La Crosse political science professor Joe Heim says neither.

"I would tend to suggest that the average voter should disregard this," said Heim. "Both parties spin this stuff the way they want the public to hear it and they use it for their advantage because the public is concerned about jobs."

He says it's a lot of talk about an issue that's mostly outside the governor's control.

"Executives, presidents and governors do not have a major influence on jobs," said Heim. "The economy dictates jobs people decide on increasing jobs or decreasing based on their sales based on how things are going and what they see in the future not based on government policies."

At this point in the recall campaign, Heim says all the political ads are not likely going to make a difference in who will walk away with a win on June 5.

"I think the overall environment is getting better overall the economy in Wisconsin and nationally is slowly getting better it's not really a political issue. Voters should focus on things other than jobs and hope that the economy not under control of the politicians continues to improve."

Even though the job numbers may have little to do with the governor, both sides are continuing to push the issue as we head toward the election.

There's still one more monthly jobs report to come before the June 5 recall election.

It should be released around the end of May.

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