Wisconsin's economic engine is proving a stubborn one to jump-start, with the state's 14,600 jobs lost in November the highest number nationally, according to an analysis of preliminary federal unemployment data released Tuesday.
The state-by-state comparison of unemployment rates and job-loss figures released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics offers the first glimpse of how each state's November job numbers, which were released Dec. 15, stack up against one another. It's the second month in a row that preliminary figures ranked Wisconsin worst. However, revised numbers from October show the state losing 2,400 jobs, not 9.600 as first reported. Revised figures now show several other states with more job losses, including Minnesota, with 7,300.
Wisconsin led with the largest over-the-month decrease in employment, followed by Minnesota with 13,700 jobs and Colorado with 4,500 jobs.
In contrast, New York led the country in job growth, adding 29,500 jobs, followed by Texas with a 20,800 surge in jobs.
Overall, non-farm positions increased in 29 states and the District of Columbia, decreased in 19 and were unchanged in two.
While Wisconsin's job losses led the nation, its unemployment rate fell to 7.3 percent, marking the lowest level in a year.
The release of the job numbers comes at a time when the state Democratic Party and United Wisconsin, an organization created to recall Gov. Scott Walker, has collected nearly enough signatures to force a recall election.
Walker won his bid for governor in November 2010 on the campaign promise that he would create 250,000 private-sector jobs during his first term.
The state's 14,600 lost jobs in November not only led the nation but reflected the fifth straight month of declines in the job market.
The Walker administration has been critical of the federal numbers recently, with the state Department of Workforce Development Secretary Reggie Newson last week noting that October was the fifth straight month where the federal agency had overestimated the number of jobs losses in the state.
Three other times this year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics underestimated jobs gains, he said.
For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics in June first estimated Wisconsin added 9,500 jobs but later revised that to 11,000 new jobs.
"These unreliable employment statistics out of Washington misinform the public and create unnecessary anxiety for job seekers and job creators about the shape of our state's economy," said Newson in a statement.
But there was a time when the federal numbers were touted by the Walker administration, as Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca points out in a statement released Tuesday.
"The monthly figures were used by the governor to boast at a press conference in June when they showed gains, primarily in tourism, before his budget passed," said Barca, D-Kenosha. "Since that plan took effect in July, the numbers have fallen every month."
Editor's note: This story was altered to reflect revised October job loss numbers.