December 12, 2012- Gov. Scott Walker’s top campaign promise was that the state would create 250,000 private-sector jobs by the end of his four-year term.
Walker has made the vow in a variety of forums, including speeches, videos, and on his campaign and official websites. But the state’s progress in job creation was last in the nation in 2011 — and there have been no signs of a significant turnaround in 2012.
During the 2012 recall election, Walker touted about 33,000 new jobs.
So, where did a figure of nearly 100,000 come from?
That’s the number Walker cited Dec. 12, 2012 in response to questions at a workforce development event in Pewaukee, when he said he thought he still could reach 250,000.
"We're just under 100,000" jobs, he said. "It's going to be tough, no doubt about it."
And he added: "We're going to achieve it."
A few hours later at an event in Madison, Walker gave a more precise figure when asked about progress on the 250,000 jobs promise. He said the number of jobs created was just over 86,000:
"We're not there yet, but we're moving at a much better pace than most people think."
When we asked about the "just under 100,000 figure," Walker spokeswoman Jocelyn Webster said the number was based on the Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, considered the most reliable measure of employment. She said the data showed there were 86,490 jobs created from December 2010 (just before Walker took office) to June 2012 (the most recent quarter available).
"There was a question, and the number he gave is based on that QCEW raw data," Webster said.
Webster said she had no further explanation for the number other than to say it came from the state Department of Workforce Development.
"Part of it was that it was the number that the governor had been told," she said. "That is where it came from."
At PolitiFact, we’ve been down this path.
And down this math.
For our monthly update of Walker’s progress, we wanted to use the most accurate data possible. That would be the census data which comes from a quarterly survey of 95 percent of the state’s employers. There also are monthly numbers from a much smaller sample that are less accurate.
The end of the year census data for 2011 showed a net increase of 27,811 jobs. When the first quarter census data came out for 2012, we thought about adding those numbers to the 2011 figure and create a running total.
But we were warned against it.