Chain reaction of job numbers reactions

Thursday’s release of job numbers by the state Department of Workforce Development created a flurry of activity in the Madison spin-o-sphere. A sampling of the many e-mails that flooded in. 

Republican Party of Wisconsin Communications Director Ben Sparks, perhaps taking a page from President Obama’s playbook: 

With today’s jobs report showing the state unemployment rate dropped to 6.9% in January, it’s clear that Wisconsin has laid the groundwork for economic growth under Governor Walker’s leadership. Today’s report represents the sixth straight month that Wisconsin has experienced a steadily declining unemployment rate, now at its lowest since December 2008. After three straight years of job loss under the failed policies of the Doyle administration, culminating in a 9.1% unemployment rate, Governor Walker has turned Wisconsin around from the Democrats’ era of job loss.

Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate sounds like he’s channellng JFK :

Today’s report that Wisconsin added an estimated 12,500 jobs in January is great news for everyone who has been harmed by Scott Walker’s failed economic policies. The nation’s rising tide has lifted Scott Walker’s sinking ship, and we are all glad our friends and neighbors will finally see some of the relief that the rest of the nation has been experiencing for most of Scott Walker’s term. 

But with the good news comes some bad. Revised numbers show that Wisconsin didn’t enjoy the modest job increase in 2011 that Scott Walker has claimed – Wisconsin actually lost 24,200 jobs in 2011. Even with this month’s estimated gains we are still in the hole 11,700 jobs since Scott Walker took office. It is clear that Scott Walker’s failure of leadership and lack of focus on helping job seekers and employers has harmed Wisconsin.”

Joint Finance Committee co-chair, Representative Robin Vos (R-Rochester) strikes a conciliatory tone:

The latest job numbers are an indication that our economy is turning around. People are finding work and no longer have to worry about how they’re going to put food on their tables.

I hope Democrats and Republicans alike join me in celebrating this news that Wisconsin is adding jobs and growing its economy.

I’m proud of the work we’ve done in the state Legislature laying the foundation for private business growth. We will continue to make the best financial decisions for our state and continue to work with the private sector to grow jobs.

While JFC co-chair Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) can’t resist a mine dig: 

I’m very pleased with the latest jobs report. It shows our reforms are working and that Wisconsin is headed in the right direction again. 

However, the numbers are cold comfort for folks in Northern and Southeastern Wisconsin. Democrats went out of their way to make it harder for people in those areas to find good paying jobs in the months to come when they rejected the mining compromise.

Kathleen Falk, Democratic candidate for governor, finds that lonely island metaphor:

It is both sad and unacceptable that Governor Walker’s policies led to six straight months of job losses, the worst record in the nation. This welcome one-month gain is a sign the national economic recovery is overcoming Governor Walker’s failed policies. Governor Walker has given big tax breaks to some corporations, at the expense of the largest cuts to public education in our state’s history. It’s wrong and hasn’t worked.

The nation’s economy is improving, but for the last year, Governor Walker made Wisconsin an island alone in a sea where opportunity is increasing elsewhere. The better way is to invest in human capital, and the best way to do that is to invest in education. That is why I have produced ideas on how to undo Walker’s agenda, such as eliminating the corporate tax loophole that will cost taxpayers about $40 million a year and restoring that money to the state’s technical college system so that there are trained employees to fill the 33,000 job openings that exist now. During my 14 years as Dane County Executive, the area had the state’s highest job growth.

WMC President/CEO Kurt Bauer works in the mine angle:

With the enactment of more than 30 pro-jobs reforms since January 2011, I am not surprised to see Wisconsin’s unemployment rate drop to the lowest level since late 2008. As those reforms take effect on our state and national economies improve, I am confident the jobless rate will continue to decline.

One major blemish to the remarkable pro-employer record of the current legislative session is the failure to pass a mine permitting bill that would have attracted a $1.5 billion investment and created thousands of high-paying middle class jobs.

Getting Wisconsin working again requires bipartisanship. The mining bill had the backing of business groups and private sector unions. What it didn’t have was the support of Democrats in the Legislature. As a result, the company willing to make such a huge investment in one of the most economically challenged regions of our state is gone and so are the jobs.

Wisconsin also has to do a better job of promoting manufacturing careers to young people. Eighty-five percent of the nearly 300 Wisconsin manufacturers who took part in 50 recent WMC listening sessions said they have skilled industrial positions they can’t fill. Nationally, Deloitte estimates that 600,000 factory jobs remain vacant because of the skilled labor shortage. Putting people back to work means educating them on where the jobs are and what skills they need to get them.

And Assembly Democratic Leader Peter Barca says those special jobs sessions weren’t that special:

While current job estimates for January are promising, today’s revised actual numbers for the past year were worse than estimates, which is deeply troubling. 

While there is little time left in the spring legislative session and an agenda filled with extreme social bills, it is never too late to work together with a laser focus on job creation, as we have wanted to do for the past year. The nation as a whole has added jobs for each of the past 23 months. We need to take advantage of that national upward trend. 

Today’s revised figures show that Wisconsin has lost 12,500 jobs since Scott Walker became governor. The fact remains that job loss is the overall impact Governor Walker and the Republicans’ economic agenda has had on Wisconsin. I renew my call for bipartisan action on job creation legislation that will help put people back to work quickly and allow Wisconsin to take advantage of the strong national economic climate. 

Unfortunately, despite holding two so-called special jobs sessions, the Republican-controlled legislature has spent more time focusing on giving money to private voucher schools while undermining public education, an extreme social agenda and power grabs. All Wisconsin leaders need to focus on economic recovery and jobs. We owe it to the Wisconsin middle-class and struggling families to help them recover and give them long-term economic security.

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