Republican Gov. Scott Walker released better 2011 jobs figures on Wednesday in an attempt to rebuff a central argument of those trying to recall him from office that Wisconsin’s economy has suffered under his leadership.

Walker faces a rare recall election June 5 spurred mostly by anger over his successful push to strip most public workers of collective bargaining rights last year, but also by his stewardship of the state economy.

Walker swept to office on the promise to add 250,000 private sector jobs during his first four-year term, and initial figures gleaned from monthly employment surveys suggested Wisconsin actually lost 33,900 jobs last year, which would rank it last among the 50 states.

The initial figures gave Democrats and their candidate, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, powerful ammunition with which to attack Walker’s record. Then on Wednesday, the governor took the unusual step of releasing fourth-quarter data due out in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ June 28 national employment report that show Wisconsin added 23,300 public and private sector jobs last year.