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Walker asks small businesses to add jobs

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MADISON (WSAU) Governor Scott Walker has asked each Wisconsin small business to consider adding at least one new employee this year. The Republican made the request last night during his second State-of-the-State address. Wisconsin added 13,500 private sector jobs in 2011, but the Badger State was the only one to lose jobs in each of the last six months. Democrats have hammered Walker for that -- and they say he's nowhere near being on pace to keep his campaign promise to add a quarter-million private sector jobs by 2015.

But during his address, Walker noted that the state's unemployment rate dropped four-tenths-of-a-percent during the year to seven-point-one -- the lowest since the Great Recession started taking hold in 2008. Walker also said the proposed mining bill would be a quote, "tremendous opportunity for job growth."

The Assembly is scheduled to vote today on the bill that would speed up the process of getting state permits for new iron ore mines. It's geared toward the proposed mine in Ashland and Iron counties, where Gogebic Taconite says it plans to add over 700 permanent jobs.

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