MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Wisconsin lost an estimated 11,700 private sector jobs in June and the unemployment rate rose to 7 percent, the state Department of Workforce Development reported Thursday.
The figures are based on a survey of about 3.5 percent of Wisconsin businesses and subject to significant monthly and quarterly revisions.
Shortly after the report was released, DWD Secretary Reggie Newson sent a letter to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics asking that it change how it compiles the monthly data so it is more accurate.
The reliability of the monthly data, versus the quarterly numbers, was a major issue during Gov. Scott Walker's recall election in the spring. Walker drew heat for releasing quarterly figures, which showed a more positive job picture in 2011 than previously reported, before the bureau could vet the numbers.
Despite the ongoing dispute over the accuracy of the monthly data, the numbers are not good for Walker.
He promised during the 2010 campaign and again in the recall election that, over four years, the state would add 250,000 private sector jobs under his leadership.
Walker is far from meeting that promise. Based on the monthly estimates for 2012 and more accurate data from 2011, Wisconsin has added 45,315 jobs since Walker took office. With that pace, 120,804 jobs will be created by 2015, less than half what Walker promised.
The latest monthly report shows job losses in most sectors, including construction, manufacturing, leisure and hospitality and other services.
Wisconsin's 7 percent unemployment rate, which rose from 6.8 percent in May, was still below the national average of 8.2 percent.
Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie said the latest figures were not a surprise, given the weak national job creation numbers released earlier this month. He said Walker's top priority remains job creation and improving the state's economy.
Democrats who took over majority control of the Senate earlier this week asked Walker to call a special session on job creation, but Republicans in the Assembly dismissed it as political theater.
Werwie has said Walker won't call lawmakers back this year unless Democratic and Republican leaders in both chambers agree on bills that can be passed.
Democratic legislative leaders pounced on the latest jobs report, saying urgent action is needed to improve the economy.
"It's clear we need to roll up our sleeves and work together to make rapid job creation and closing the skills gap our top priority," said Assembly Democratic Minority Leader Peter Barca.
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