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Reality Check: Candidates cherry pick job numbers

Reality Check: Candidates cherry pick job numbers

MADISON, Wis. - Gov. Scott Walker came out with a new ad this week that pushes back on a familiar line used by his Democratic challenger Mary Burke.

"Scott Walker promised 250,000 jobs and instead Wisconsin fell to dead last in Midwest job growth," Burke's most recent ad states.

Walker's ad focuses on those 10 states and one ranking.

"Well, the latest job numbers are in and Wisconsin created more private sector jobs than Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Ohio and Illinois," the governor said in the ad. "That means we ranked third in the Midwest."

News 3 finds both of these statements need some clarification.

Burke and Walker's numbers are apples and oranges when compared, or to use another fruit metaphor, they're cherry-picked.

If you look at the bottom of the governor's ad, you'll see he's citing the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics current employment survey, and total private sector jobs created between July 2013 and July 2014. Comparing those 10 states with their monthly figures, he's right that Wisconsin is No. 3 out of 10. But these monthly figures are not numbers Walker has liked before.

Back in 2012 before the recall election, Walker called the BLS Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages the gold standard in jobs numbers because it's a more complete survey of employers while the monthly numbers are a snapshot that's subject to revision.

Those are the numbers Burke is using in her ad. Looking at the QCEW numbers that are currently available, from December 2010 to December 2013, Burke is right that of 10 states Wisconsin was 10th.

But, News 3 has pointed out before that neither candidate should look at just 10 states. The BLS Midwest region includes 12 states. By that count, with Walker's figures Wisconsin is fourth, and with Burke's numbers Wisconsin is 11th.

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