MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Wisconsin added a little more than 62,000 private sector jobs during the first two years of Gov. Scott Walker's term, far off the pace needed to fulfill his campaign promise to create 250,000 jobs in four years.
The latest jobs figures were released Thursday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics based on a survey of about 97 percent of Wisconsin businesses.
Walker has said his job-creation performance should be measured based on that Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages data because it is the most accurate information available.
At the current pace, about 124,000 private sector jobs will have been added by the time Walker's first term ends in 2015 — only halfway toward his promise.
Walker's spokesman Tom Evenson did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
Democrats have used the jobs promise against Walker, making it a central issue in the 2012 recall election. But Walker won the recall by a wider margin than he did the 2010 general election, when he initially put the figure out there.
No Democrat has announced their plans to challenge Walker in 2014, but whoever does is certain to use the job creation numbers against him.
Based on the latest data, the state added 32,282 jobs in 2012.
"Another day, another jobs failure under Wisconsin's extreme Republican leadership," Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chris Larson said in a statement. "When the rest of the country is creating jobs and making economic progress, Wisconsin's single-party leadership has been distracted in their pursuit of an extreme social agenda rather than creating jobs for Wisconsin's middle-class families."
Democratic Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca said the recently passed state budget, which includes a $650 million income tax cut and expands private school vouchers statewide, will not help Wisconsin create jobs. He called on Republicans to join with Democrats in offering bills to improve the economy and worker training.
Total job growth, which includes both private and public sector jobs, was 1.2 percent last year in Wisconsin, tying it with three other states for 31st nationwide. The state's job growth lagged behind the national average of 1.9 percent, and all of its neighbors except Illinois saw stronger growth. Illinois' jobs grew at 1.1 percent.
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