Rick Perry's presidential campaign is centered around his claimed job-creation record—after all responsibility for "40% of all of the new jobs created in America" sounds great. But as Jed Lewison wrote
yesterday, Texas' unemployment rate is on par with states like New York and Massachusetts. That's not the only problem with Perry's claims, though.
Problems one and two:
[T]he number comes out differently depending on whether one compares Texas to all states or just to states that are adding jobs. Since Texas is adding jobs, and many other states are losing jobs, Texas’s gains become out-sized in a general national survey.
Texas, as a state rich in oil and national gas, has also benefited from increases in energy prices that have slowed the economy elsewhere in the country. Higher energy prices have meant more jobs in Texas.
Problem three: The Texas economy was boosted by an earlier investment in education paid for by a tax increase of the kind Perry inveighs against now.
And problem four is the kind of jobs being created in Texas:
- Since December 2007, the average weekly wage in Texas has stayed steady at $790, while the national average has risen from $750 to $790 and the average in New York (where, remember, the unemployment rate is similar) has risen from $870 to $900. Living expenses may be different in the two states, so the crucial point is of wage stagnation vs. a modest increase.
- Texas has more people earning the federal minimum wage or less than any other state and is tied with Mississippi for the highest percentage of minimum-wage workers. New York follows Texas and Mississippi by three percentage points.
- Texas is also the deadliest state to work in and the one with the lowest workers' comp coverage.
So a Rick Perry economy is one in which the unemployment rate is the same as in New York, but with the rate of pay falling steadily behind and many more people stuck at (or below) minimum wage and dying on the job.