WI Department of Workforce Development secretary: Don't trust jobs numbers
MADISON - Wisconsin's unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 7 percent, up from 6.8 percent in June, according to new numbers from the state Department of Workforce Development.
The latest survey shows Wisconsin lost nearly 12,000 private sector jobs last month, but the department's secretary is urging everyone to be cautious when seeing the preliminary information.
"The monthly estimates that the federal government requires the department to release and publish are volatile, imprecise and inaccurate," Secretary Reggie Newson tells Newsradio 620 WTMJ.
"This is problematic because job creators, employers and job seekers see this information and it's hard for them to make good informed decisions."
Monthly jobs reports are prepared by conducting a survey of a very small percentage of businesses in Wisconsin.
Newson points to 2011 when monthly surveys showed Wisconsin losing 34,000 jobs. Census data later erased that, showing the state actually gained 23,000.
The secretary wrote a letter to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Thursday, asking the agency to reconsider the way it estimates jobs totals.
Newson is confident jobs numbers will be positive when the latest census of Wisconsin employers is released.
"We look forward to actually seeing the first quarter data for 2012 of virtually every employer in Wisconsin in September."
The discrepancy between jobs numbers became a major issue during Governor Scott Walker's recent recall campaign. His Democratic opponent Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett highlighted the negative monthly figures from 2011, while Walker pointed to the positive census data.