Red, white and blue
State claims 23k job gain; Walker, Barrett spar over announcement timing
MILWAUKEE - Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker is highlighting new, more positive, jobs numbers in Wisconsin and responding to a controversy about the timing of the release of those numbers.
New numbers from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development show Wisconsin actually gained more than 23,000 jobs in 2011.
That's a much brighter picture than an initial figure showing more than 33,000 lost jobs.
"The facts clearly show that Wisconsin gained jobs," claimed Walker on Newsradio 620 WTMJ's "Midday with Charlie Sykes."
His opponent in the recall gubernatorial race, Milwaukee Democratic Governor Tom Barrett, claims the numbers aren't verified yet, and he's also challenging the fact the numbers have been released ahead of schedule.
Normally, the numbers are released through the federal government later in June.
"He is well aware of the fact that the numbers he's putting out right now cannot be verified before this election," said Barrett to TODAY'S TMJ4's Melissa McCrady.
Critics, including Barrett's campaign, say the timing is political because of the recall election.
"This jobs report he's putting out is really about one job. His job," proclaimed Barrett.
"What we're seeing here is a very cynical attempt by the Governor to change the subject, that he knows his job performance numbers are the worst in the nation. Here we are, 20 days before an election, and he creates his own set of numbers that he wants us to believe represent what he has done as the leader of this state. The public can see right through it."
"Even if this was some other time without a recall election, I think employees in the state deserve to know that the original narrative was really off the mark," said Walker.
"No matter what you think about the timing...or the circumstances, they cannot undermine the data because the data is objective. It is solid information. The facts are the facts."
There's no legal issue with the state releasing the numbers now, though states usually wait for a longer period of time before releasing those numbers.