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Marquette professor surprised by lack of new manufacturing jobs

MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - A Marquette economics professor says he's surprised by a lack of new jobs in Wisconsin factories. 

Abdur Chowdhury said manufacturing has to be a key player in the state's recovery from the recession. But state officials said Thursday that Wisconsin lost 119 manufacturing jobs during the year ending in June, when almost 24,000 other jobs were created statewide. 

Chowdhury says Wisconsin needs a strong manufacturing sector because it generally provides good paying jobs, especially of the three-fourths of workers without four-year college degrees. 

Dale Knapp of the Wisconsin Taxpayers' Alliance says the slow growth is troubling, but it's not new. He said there's been a slowdown in factory job growth for about the last year. That was after Wisconsin outperformed other states in new manufacturing jobs during 2010 and 2011. 

Construction had the highest rate of growth over the past year. The state added 5,300 construction posts, which reflects the continued growth in the housing market. 

State officials said the year-to-year figure of 24,000 jobs was based on a nearly complete survey of employers. Those numbers will be used when Wisconsin is compared to other states in a quarterly report due out December 18th.