Just How Accurate Are the Latest WI Job Numbers?

By KBJR News 1

May 17, 2012 Updated May 17, 2012 at 11:13 AM CDT

Superior, WI (Northland's NewsCenter) - Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker wasted no time on Wednesday to tout the latest numbers from the Department of Workforce Development, that claim, between December 2010 and 2011, the state added over 23,300 jobs.

"Add the jobs created this year, and the total goes to over 30,000," said a confident Walker in his latest YouTube video.

While the DWD's numbers are based on reports from 160,000 state employers, not everyone is ready to get on board with the latest figures.

"This jobs report that he's putting out is really about one job—his job," said Milwaukee Mayor and Gubernatorial candidate Tom Barrett.

Many officials consider the DWD's numbers only one piece of the puzzle that forms a state's Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages. That census also includes detailed state payroll data, and is traditionally used to gauge what experts say are the most accurate numbers when it comes to job growth.

"And that's a very accurate way of measuring who's working, but it takes a bit longer to collect and analyze that data," said Regional Labor Market Analyst Drew Digby.

Picking and choosing which numbers best fit a party's stance is often why we see such differing figures from both sides, but, according to Digby, the numbers that "combine" the most figures are the most accurate.

"...especially in a recession, like we've been through, each data set comes up a little differently than the next one, and you have to look at all of them and sort of say, 'what's the strength of that survey, what's the weakness of it,' and and analyze those numbers so [you can] make sure you're comparing apples with apples, and oranges to oranges," said Digby.

...validating the claim that it's not what both sides are choosing to say, but what they're leaving out, that tells the whole story.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics is scheduled to release the next Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages on June 28th--23 days after the recall election.