Perry’s employment record in Texas

By Felix Salmon
August 15, 2011
Paul Krugman has an important column today about Rick Perry's record of job creation in Texas:

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Paul Krugman has an important column today about Rick Perry’s record of job creation in Texas:

So where does the notion of a Texas miracle come from? Mainly from widespread misunderstanding of the economic effects of population growth…

Texas tends, in good years and bad, to have higher job growth than the rest of America. But it needs lots of new jobs just to keep up with its rising population — and as those unemployment comparisons show, recent employment growth has fallen well short of what’s needed.

The unemployment numbers are interesting, but I thought it would be interesting to look at the employment numbers instead — and to see how employment in Texas compares to employment in the rest of the country. So Nick Rizzo collated the data for this chart, taking employment figures from Google’s Public Data Explorer, and filling it out with population data from the Census Bureau and — for the 2011 population of Texas — the Texas Department of State Health Services. Here’s the result:

txpop.jpg

The employment-to-population ratio in this chart is lower than the employment-to-population ratio we normally see, because it includes everyone, from infants to convicted felons. According to the figures we have for 2011, 44.7% of the total US population has a job, compared to 43.5% of the Texas population.

And Perry’s record is pretty bad, here: he inherited a ratio of more than 47% in Texas from George W Bush, and has presided over a steady decline ever since — including every year of the Bush presidency bar 2005.

The single most important task facing the US is to turn the employment numbers around and get the employment-to-population ratio rising again. Obama has been bad on this front. But Perry’s decade-long record in Texas is no better.

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