As Americans and GOP primary voters specifically are hearing more about Governor Rick Perry and his economic record in Texas, more and more scrutiny is being given to the reality of jobs in Texas. As the Fiscal Times shows, the so-called “Texas Miracle” is anything but:
There’s just one problem with that portrayal. While Texas has created more jobs than any other state in the past two years, the increase is far less than advertised. The rate of increase is not much higher than a number of other states, including former rustbelt centers like Pennsylvania or liberal sanctuaries like Vermont.
Moreover, its recent performance is a classic case of “all hat, no cattle.” Texas lost 34,000 jobs in June, causing its unemployment rate to jump to 8.2 percent, which ranks it 25th among states and leaving it worse off than its immediate neighbors. Even as Texas’ unemployment rate rose along the lines of the entire country, the neighboring states of Louisiana and New Mexico saw their unemployment rates fall to 7.8 percent and 6.8 percent, respectively.
Moreover, to the extent Texas has succeeded in adding jobs over the past two years, most of its good fortune rests on conditions that are not replicable elsewhere. Soaring oil prices have provided a substantial number of new jobs and tax revenue since it is the nation’s leading oil- producing state, even as those $4-a-gallon gas prices drained consumers nationwide and put pressure on other states’ budgets. An influx of new government defense spending has also pumped up revenue, while the state has used oil revenue to postpone a sharp cutback in state and local government employment, which is about to hit in full force.
If Texas’ job growth depends on conditions that are not replicable in the United States as a whole, I hardly see what good Rick Perry could do for the American people as a whole – except tell us to move to Texas. Another couple points that I cannot stress enough: job growth in Texas was higher under George W. Bush, and public sector jobs in Texas grew at 19% while private sector jobs grew at only 9%. For more, see The Truth about Texas Jobs.