DWD: More job losses reported, but more Wisconsinites are working

In a preliminary report that is subject to revision, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development said today that Wisconsin lost 3,900 private sector jobs in December, but the state has seen the number of residents working increase by 21,400 since December of 2010.

Despite the preliminary report, which contains data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the state’s unemployment rate dropped from 7.3% to 7.1%.

More than 200,000 jobs were created nationally in December, and the DWD said the number of Wisconsinites who are working increased by 6,900 in just the month of December.

Reggie Newson, secretary of the DWD, also said in a press release that there were record job postings of more than 151,500 on JobCenterofWisconsin.com last year, and Wisconsin had higher state sales and withholding tax collections, “all of which point to economic growth for our state.”

December's numbers were an improvement over November 2011 data, as November job losses were revised upward for both total and private-sector jobs. Out of a total nonfarm employment base of 2.74 million jobs, there was a net loss of 13,600 total nonfarm jobs and 10,600 private sector job losses.

The numbers were reported two days after opponents of Gov. Scott Walker claim to have gathered one million signatures to force a recall election, and former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk announced her intention to run for governor in a recall.

Gov. Walker's stated goal is to have the Wisconsin economy create 250,000 new jobs by 2015, but the state is well short of the required pace – about 5,200 new jobs per month – to reach that goal.