Gov. Scott Walker's administration said the job-growth numbers he made public earlier than normal have been verified by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development spokesman John Dipko told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the BLS has confirmed Wisconsin jobs grew by 23,608 in 2011. Dipko provided the AP with an email from BLS confirming that the data had been verified, but the final jobs number was not included in that email.
Dipko said the number is based off the data that received the final BLS sign-off.
But when WISC-TV contacted the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, it would not confirm the jobs data.
The Bureau Chief in charge of data review for the jobs census told WISC-TV he can't comment on Wisconsin's jobs figures until they are published June 28. The Bureau of Labor Statistics said it doesn't make any statements about the data while it is still in production, and it will only speak about it after it is published.
Walker had released the preliminary job numbers two weeks ago before BLS confirmed them, a highly unusual move.
Walker's Democratic opponent in Tuesday's recall, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, accused Walker of "cooking the books" and trying to spin the numbers to his advantage.
Walker said Barrett owes people an apology.
Walker's record on jobs has been a major focus of the recall campaign.
Walker has touted the revised numbers to rebut charges from Democrats that Wisconsin lost jobs in 2011, while Democrats have questioned the significant difference between the more than 23,000 jobs gained that the state reported to the feds and the almost 34,000 jobs lost in 2011 based off surveys that had been previously released.
Barrett's campaign released a statement Wednesday, saying that if Walker's administration can release an email on job statistics prematurely, Walker should be able to release the thousands of emails about his involvement in the John Doe investigation.
"We hope this news is true, and that Wisconsin and Milwaukee have actually gained jobs. However what's really sorry is that this governor is hanging his hat on the fact that Wisconsin is still last in the Big 10 in job creation, and woefully behind his own campaign promise to create 250,000 jobs.
"Wisconsin is right to be skeptical of Scott Walker's jobs claims because of the highly irregular way he manipulated the release of these numbers 20 days before an election. It's hard to give the benefit of the doubt to the only governor in America with a criminal defense fund," said Phil Walzak, communications director for the Barrett campaign, in a statement.