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Friday, May 18, 2012

 1:42 PM 

Barrett, Dems, Walker admin official spar over year-to-date job loss figures

Democrats and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett used the numbers released Thursday showing a year-to-date job loss to say that Gov. Scott Walker is failing residents and trying to change the conversation with his own numbers. The Walker administration hit back saying they're simply trying to paint an accurate picture of the state's job situation.

Numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show Wisconsin lost 21,400 jobs from April 2011 to April 2012. That is in sharp contrast to numbers released by the Department of Workforce Development on Wednesday that showed the state gained more than 23,000 jobs over the course of 2011.

Barrett's communications director Phil Walzak released a statement Friday saying the "non-partisan" numbers clearly fly in the face of Walker's job claims.

"With official news yesterday that Wisconsin under Walker's failed leadership lost 6,000 jobs in April, and lost 21,400 jobs over the past 12 months, it's obvious why Walker was so eager to distribute a different set of unverified figures from his own Administration: he is desperate to change the subject," Walzak said. "Walker may not like the numbers, but he can't spin the numbers. And he can't expect Wisconsin to just take his word for it."

Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate echoed that sentiment.

"Now we know why Scott Walker created his magical math that was rolled out so suspiciously this week — because he has been caught red-handed once again making up facts," Tate said in a statement. "Sadly for Wisconsin, this is just another example of Scott Walker's campaign and administration being one of the most dishonest we've ever seen. Walker has been a one-man wrecking crew for jobs in Wisconsin and these new figures show it."

DWD Secretary Reggie Newson said they are just providing accurate numbers, which is why they stand behind the release of Wednesday's job numbers.

“We have a responsibility to correct the record for job seekers and employers who want to be part of a growing economy and want to know the big picture. The bottom line is Wisconsin added jobs in 2011 and is headed in the right direction. More Wisconsinites are working as of April 2012 over the prior year, and fewer Wisconsinites are unemployed. Our unemployment rate is at its lowest point since 2008. You can’t have an expanding workforce with more people working, fewer people unemployed, a declining unemployment rate, and a steep loss of jobs at the same time."

-- By Jason Smathers

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