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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- New quarterly figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Thursday showed Wisconsin has dropped to 44th in the nation for creating private-sector jobs.
The data covered the year that ended in September, and reflected a recent steady decline. Wisconsin ranked 42nd for the year that ended in June, and 37th for the year that ended in March 2012.
The report was based on a survey of 96 percent of all American non-farm employers, public and private.
The report said other Midwestern states are performing better than Wisconsin. Indiana ranked 11th, Michigan 13th and Ohio 24th.
Gov. Scott Walker promised in the 2010 campaign, and has reiterated since, that he will create 250,000 private sector jobs by the end of 2014. He was about 212,500 jobs short of meeting that target at the end of 2012.
In an emailed statement, Walker's spokesman Cullen Werwie said the governor has been devoted to creating Wisconsin jobs since he took office in 2011, citing his visits to manufacturers in Rhinelander, Green Bay and Richland Center as efforts to promote job growth.
Walker's 2013-15 biennium state budget proposal includes recommitting to a $75 million tax credit program to encourage business expansion and job retention; setting aside $25 million to invest in startup companies through a venture capital fund; adding $11 million to support a marketing program that promotes Wisconsin as a place to do business; and investing nearly $6 million in programs that support high-potential entrepreneurs and businesses.
Assembly minority leader Rep. Peter Barca, D-Kenosha, said the latest job data showed the state's economy is near the bottom and the middle class is struggling. He said the state should invest more in job training and public education.
Republican leaders in the Legislature argued the state's economy is improving due to economic reforms they enacted.
Wisconsin now has a projected $484 million budget surplus. Walker has proposed $343 million income tax cut in his budget.
"While the jobs aren't growing as fast as we might like, we have set the state up for success for years to come." Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald's Spokesman Tom Evenson said in an email.