Wisconsin unemployment drops to 4.4 percent in April

MADISON (AP) — Wisconsin's unemployment rate dropped to 4.4 percent in April, down from 4.6 percent in March.

The state Department of Workforce Development reported the latest figures Thursday. The department also reported that for the 12-month period ending in December, Wisconsin added 35,736 private-sector jobs, for a growth of 1.5 percent over that period.

Walker's administration releases the state figures before the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics puts them out June 17. Only then can Wisconsin's job growth be compared with other states.

In the last annual report, Wisconsin ranked 40th in private-sector job growth.

Walker has said the BLS figures are the "gold standard" because they are based on a survey of nearly every employer, while the monthly unemployment statistics come from a survey of just 3.5 percent of employers.