MADISON (WKOW) -- The economy is one of the biggest factors influencing political opinions for both Republicans and Democrats. On Labor Day, many voters want to know where the state falls on job creation.
Laborfest 2012 is hosted by the South Central Federation of Labor (SCFL). It's a time to recognize the history of workers.
"One thing that labor has done throughout the years is fight for people's rights," says SCFL President Kevin Gundlach.
The annual union-led celebration has changed. More than a year after Gov. Scott Walker's budget repair bill took effect, fights for collective bargaining rights are still on people's minds. The question now is whether Wisconsin's economy getting better.
"Here in Madison, it is getting a bit better. We certainly were hurt by Act 10, we were hurt by what the state did," says Madison Mayor Paul Soglin.
Preliminary numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) show the state's unemployment rate in July was at a nine month high-- 7.3 percent. The state lost about 6,500 jobs in one month, in areas like the hospitality industry and construction. But information jobs, education, healthcare and manufacturing industries were hiring more, which came as a surprise for some.
"I'd like to see what types of jobs those are in education as opposed to just saying they've created more jobs," says Gundlach.
"When you look at change you have to look at how you're doing in regards to the competition," says Soglin. "Wisconsin overall is just about the worst state in the last year in terms of job creation, we can't forget that."
BLS reports the U.S. gained 163-thousand jobs in July, with 8.3 percent unemployment nationwide. That's down from the annual average in 2011 at 8.9 percent-- but something Republican lawmakers still aren't happy with.
"The facts are-- fewer people are employed today. The debt is more out of control than it ever was in the history of this country. The president didn't cut the deficit in half like he promised," says chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus.
BLS also releases metropolitan area statistics. In Madison, preliminary reports show unemployment in July was much less than the statewide average at 5.4 percent. Numbers show education and health services jobs were up, along with government and information positions, but manufacturing and professional jobs were down.
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2013 WorldNow and WKOW. All Rights Reserved.
Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's public inspection file should contact Program Manager Jessica Miller at 608-661-2794. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at email@example.com.