Rick Perry And Texas Job Numbers

Full disclosure: I don’t like Rick Perry for our next president. I have my reasons that aren’t worth going into here. However, when I was watching the GOP debate and pro-Perry people started bringing up Rick Perry’s job numbers as a cudgel against other candidates, I looked into the BLS data on Texas jobs. Having familiarized myself with the data, I started noticing claims on the Texas jobs data that started popping up that directly contradicted what I was seeing in the data. So I wanted to clear up a couple of these common misconceptions.

Note: If you are going to comment and you want to introduce some new objection to the Texas job numbers, you MUST provide original data. I spent about 4 hours digging through raw data to write this post. I don’t want you to point to some pundit or blog post and take it on their authority, because I’ve already researched several idiot pundits who are talking directly out of their asses when it comes to the data. I want you to point to the raw data that I can examine for myself. This means links. I refuse to waste any more of my time on speculative bullshit or “Well, I’ll wager that the Texas jobs don’t really count because…” If you’re willing to wager, take that money and put it towards finding the actual data. In short, put up or shut up.

I’m not cranky, I swear.

Anyway, let’s deal with the complaints in no particular order:

“Texas has an unemployment rate of 8.2%. That’s hardly exceptional.”

See… that’s what I thought when I started looking at the data. I knew that Utah had a lower unemployment rate than Texas and I kept hearing that Texas was go great at jobs, blah, blah, blah, so I looked up the unemployment rate.

Nothing special.

So I was going to drive my point home that Texas was nothing special by looking at their raw employment numbers and reporting on those. That’s when I saw this:

This may not look like anything special, but I’ve been looking closely at employment data for a couple years now and I’ve become very accustomed to seeing data that looks like this.

In a “normal” employment data set, we can easily look at it and say “Yep, that’s where the recession happened. Sucks to be us.” But not with Texas. With Texas, we say “Damn. Looks like they’ve recovered already.”

(To get to this data, go to this link http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/dsrv?la then select the state or states you want, the select “Statewide”, then select the states again, then select the metrics you want to see.)

But if Texas has so many jobs, why do they have such a high unemployment rate? Let’s take a closer look at that data.

As a percentage of the number of pre-recession jobs, here is a chart of the growth of a selection of states. (For clarity, in this chart I selected a number of the largest states and tried to focus on states that have relatively good economic reputations. I did not chart all 50 states b/c it would have taken me too long.)

We can see that Texas has grown the fastest, having increased jobs by 2.2% since the recession started. I want to take a moment and point out that second place is held by North Dakota. I added North Dakota to my list of states  to show something very important. North Dakota currently has the lowest unemployment rate of any state at 3.2%. And yet Texas is adding jobs at a faster rate than North Dakota. How can this be?

The reason is that people are flocking to Texas in massive numbers. Starting at the beginning of the recession (December 2007), let’s look at how this set of states have grown in their labor force.

As you can see, Texas isn’t just the fastest growing… it’s growing over twice as fast as the second fastest state and three times as fast as the third. Given that Texas is (to borrow a technical term) f***ing huge, this growth is incredible.

People are flocking to Texas in massive numbers. This is speculative, but it *seems* that people are moving to Texas looking for jobs rather than moving to Texas for a job they already have lined up. This would explain why Texas is adding jobs faster than any other state but still has a relatively high unemployment rate.

“Sure, Texas has lots of jobs, but they’re mostly low-paying/minimum wage jobs”

Let’s look at the data. Here’s a link: Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates

Texas median hourly wage is $15.14…  almost exactly in the middle of the pack (28th out of 51 regions). Given that they’ve seen exceptional job growth (and these other states have not) this does not seem exceptionally low.

But the implication here is that the new jobs in Texas, the jobs that Texas seems to stand alone in creating at such a remarkable pace, are low paying jobs and don’t really count.

If this were true, all these new low-paying jobs should be dragging down the wages data, right? But if we look at the wages data since the beginning of the recession (click to enlarge, states are listed alphabetically)

And it turns out that the opposite is true. Since the recession started hourly wages in Texas have increased at a 6th fastest pace in the nation.

As a side note, the only blue state that has faster growing wages is Hawaii. Just thought I’d get that jab in since so many people have been making snarky “Yeah, I could get a job in Texas is I wanted to flip burgers!” comments at me on Twitter.

“Texas is oil country and the recent energy boom is responsible for the incredible jobs increase.”

In identifying “energy jobs” I cast as wide a net as possible. If you want to replicate my findings, go to this link: http://www.bls.gov/sae/data.htm, click on “One-Screen Data Search”, then select “Texas”, then select “Statewide”, then in Supersectors select “Mining and Logging”, “Non-Durable Goods” and “Transportation and Utilities” and then in Industries select “Mining and Logging”, “Natural Gas Distribution”, “Electric Power Generation” and “Petroleum and Coal Products Manufacturing”.

Tedious, I know, but transparency is important and this is how you get the data.

When we finally get the data, we discover that energy isn’t really the biggest part of the Texas economy. Increases in jobs in the energy sector (or closely related to it) account for about 25% of the job increases in the last year. Since the energy sector only makes up 3% of all employment, there is some truth to this claim.

However, take the energy sector completely out of the equation and Texas is still growing faster than any other state. This indicates to us that the energy sector is not a single sector saving Texas from the same economic fate as the rest of the states. It’s not hurting, but Texas would still be growing like a weed without it.

“Texas has 100,000 unsustainable public sector jobs that inflate the growth numbers.”

I’m not sure where this one comes from, but the numbers are these (and can be found by selecting government employment from the data wizard at this link http://www.bls.gov/sae/data.htm):

Counting from the beginning of the recession (December 2007) the Texas public sector has grown 3.8%, or a little under 70,000 employees. This is faster than normal employment, but it’s not off the charts.

Given that the Texas economy has grown so much and private sector jobs have grown so much, that doesn’t strike me as an unsustainable growth in the public sector.

But, just in case you’re really worried about it, you can lay your fears to rest because in the last year the Texas public sector has shrunk by 26,000 jobs. In the last 12 months, Texas lost 31,300 federal employees, trimmed 3,800 state jobs, and increased local government jobs by 8,400 jobs.

(To be fair, this was partially driven by the role Texas employees played in the census, which inflated federal job numbers this time last year. Since the census numbers stabilized, federal employment has been at about break-even.)

As you can see, we’re nowhere near the “100,000 unsustainable jobs” number.

My Personal Favorite Chart

I’ll leave you with my personal favorite chart. I mentioned at the beginning that Texas is seeing high unemployment in a large part because they’re growing so damn fast. The problem with this from a charts and graphs perspective is that it leaves worse states off the hook, making them look better than they actually are. Looking at unemployment alone, we would conclude that Wisconsin has a better economy than Texas. But Wisconsin is still 120K short of it’s pre-recession numbers. The only reason they look better than Texas is because 32,000 people fled the state.

During that time, 739,000 people fled into Texas. Anyone who takes that data and pretends that this is somehow bad news for Texas is simply not being honest. At the worst, I’d call it a good problem to have.

So, to give something of a better feeling for the economic situation across states, this chart takes the population of the states I selected above and judges the current job situation against the population as it stood at the beginning of the recession.

Using that metric, Texas would have a very low unemployment rate of 2.3%. But the fact that unemployment in the United States is fluid means that the unemployed flock to a place where there are jobs, which inflates its unemployment rate (at least in the short term). It’s not a bad thing for Texas… it just looks bad when dealing with the isolated “unemployment %” statistic.

UPDATE: @francisgagnon on Twitter felt that this chart was dishonest because it charts Texas as having 2.3% unemployment and (in his words so I don’t get him wrong): “It assumes immigrants create no jobs. But more people = more consumers = more jobs.”

He is absolutely right about this. I tried to be clear above that this chart doesn’t account for the fluid nature of an economy with immigration and departures of hundreds of thousands of people, but I don’t want to leave anyone with the wrong impression. So here it is: This chart doesn’t account for the fluid nature of an economy with immigrations and departures of hundreds of thousands of people. The point of this chart is not to say “Texas should have 2.3% unemployment if only things were fair.” Instead, it is an attempt to chart job growth in such a way that controls for people leaving one job market to enter another. To say “Wisconsin has a better job market than Texas because its unemployment rate is 0.6% lower” is a wholly untrue statement even though it cites accurate numbers. What this chart is meant to do is not posit a counter-factual, but to give a visual representation of the employment reality that is obscured by the way we calculate unemployment numbers.


And… that’s it.

You may have noticed that I don’t mention Rick Perry very much here. That is because Rick Perry is, in my opinion, ancillary to this entire discussion. He was governor while these these numbers happened, so good for him. Maybe that means these jobs they are his “fault”. Maybe the job situation is the result of his policies. Or maybe Texas is simply the least bad option in a search for a favorable economic climate.

That is not an argument I’m having at this exact moment. My point is to show that most of the “excuses” you will hear about Texas’ job statistics are based in nothing more than a hope that Rick Perry had nothing to do with them and not on a sound understanding of the data.

My advice to anti-Perry advocates is this: Give up talking about Texas jobs. Texas is an incredible outlier among the states when it comes to jobs. Not only are they creating them, they’re creating ones with higher wages.

One can argue that Perry had very little to do with the job situation in Texas, but such a person should be probably prepare themselves for the consequences of that line of reasoning. If Rick Perry had nothing to do with creating jobs in Texas, than why does Obama have something to do with creating jobs anywhere? And why would someone advocate any sort of “job creating” policies if policies don’t seem to matter when it comes to the decade long governor of Texas? In short, it seems to me that this line of reasoning, in addition to sounding desperate and partisan, hogties its adherents into a position where they are simultaneously saying that government doesn’t create jobs while arguing for a set of policies where government will create jobs.

Or, to an uncharitable eye, it seem they are saying “Policies create jobs when they are policies I like. They don’t create jobs when they are policies I dislike.”

People will continue to argue about the data. But hopefully this will be helpful in sorting out reality from wishful and desperate thinking. I mentioned on Twitter that the Texas jobs situation was nothing short of miraculous. This is why I said that and why I’m standing by that statement.


  1. YR says:

    I was gonna cite a blog after reading the first sentence but it just says in other words the same thing you did but using news articles instead of simply raw data and addresses other criticisms of Perry.

  2. Al says:

    Impressive work. crabby man. Hope you didn’t wake the baby up with all that chart crunching.

  3. sybilll says:

    Excellent post and analysis. There was an interactive map posted on Forbes about the Northeast migration to Texas and the south in general, but, it has not been updated since 2008. I have seriously considered a move to Texas myself.

  4. […] had a whole lot of interest in) I really don’t have the time or patience to do something like this post about Texas job and unemployment numbers over at the blog Political Math (which is written by Matthias Shapiro, the same guy responsible for […]

  5. Jim (pthread) says:

    Thanks for the research, very well done.

    re: the fist point (and we started a discussion about this on Twitter), I still am unsure of two things:

    1.) Why is absolute job growth considered a good thing in light of rather typical unemployment numbers, as a percentage? I believe you make an argument that the distinction can be made, but unless I missed it, there’s no argument why it is a better measure.

    Certainly there’s a reason we use the relative measures of percentage of people unemployed, it’s a more important measure of the health of a state. Simply from a revenues/outlays perspective in managing a state budget, lower unemployment is more beneficial.

    2.) I’m not sure I necessarily agree with your point about people having to have left other states and come to Texas to find jobs. Since Texas’s unemployment rate roughly tracked the national average, why would someone move there to seek a job? The unemployment rate, at a very high-level, is your *chance* of finding a job. Would you move to a state that is creating jobs more jobs in an absolute sense, but has a higher unemployment rate, without job prospects in hand? I wouldn’t.

    I think the actual answer lies in their cheap cost of living, most largely driven by cheap housing. Certainly it’s not unreasonable to presume that while your prospects of getting a job in Texas are no better than anywhere else, people would flock there for cheap rent.

    I’m unaware of a good source of population increase per year, or of one that breaks down population changes by demographics. Are you?

  6. Jim (pthread) says:

    A related question, and correct me if I’m wrong on this one: isn’t a necessary consequence of leaning on the fact that Texas has created a lot of jobs (in the absolute sense) recognition of the fact that they must have put *even more* people in the unemployment line (again, in an absolute sense) to have had their unemployment rate go up?

    That may seem like an obvious statement, but I think it completely deflates the idea that their absolute job creation was some sort of miracle, or even a good thing.

  7. Jay says:

    I think your questions 1) and 2) kind of answer each other. Employment rate as an indicator necessarily lags population growth–you can’t create a job for someone who’s not there. However, the raw data shows that Texas *is* adding jobs, in a time when a lot of states aren’t.

    Looking at unemployment rate as a chance to find a job is only a sensible move if the job market isn’t expanding (as it is continuing to do in Texas). You are more likely to find a job in Texas than in a hypothetical state with the same 8.2% unemployment rate and no job creation, because in Texas there are more jobs being created as more people arrive in the state.

    Cost of living is another interesting topic. I’m from the Pittsburgh area, and I know that in my general area (Cleveland and Pittsburgh), living in the cities is significantly less expensive than it is to live in major cities in Texas (Dallas and Austin are the ones I saw data for, but I can’t find it again; I’ll try to locate it and show it here). Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio are not the target of a great migration of out-of-work employees.

    I do suspect that at least some people moving to Texas aren’t finding employment right away, and that there are some native Texans out of work, too. I would chalk this up to the lag time in job creation, and I’d expect the rate in Texas to come back down more quickly than in other states as (if) the national economy recovers. Moving to Texas in search of a job might be a bit speculative, but (in all honesty) it’s a better speculation than moving to Pennsylvania for one.

  8. Dave says:

    This is exactly why I read this blog regularly. Excellent analysis from real data. (I almost said “unbiased” analysis, but there isn’t really any such thing. All analysis comes with some bias.) I really admire your willingness to look at data, let the data guide you and be transparent so others can verify and extend your findings. It’s also a great learning resource.

  9. Chuck says:

    What is your point? Are you trying to say vote for Obama because of your research shows Texas employment numbers are better than the nations?

    Please do the same research on the nation including showing the source of proof that millions of jobs have been saved due to Obama’s policies. Oh, also report how the numbers and percentage of unemployed has been adjust down due to the manipulation of how unemployment is reported i.e. when a person stops looking for a job they are no longer considered unemployed. Oh, also please graph the impact McDonald’s and other fast food retailers’ summer hiring has had on the how unemployment numbers are reported for June and July.

    The world is eagerly awaiting your unbiased findings.

  10. Raul Torres says:

    Excellent work and research. Thank you for doing this for the people of Amercia. Facts don’t lie. They are what they are. I’m sure there will this who will disregard your facts and that’s ok. Jesus did tell us “If the blind lead the blind shall they not both fall int the ditch?”. Watch out for ditches they are everywhere.

  11. Jim (pthread) says:

    @Jay: But the unemployment rate is lower in Pennsylvania. Therefore your “chance” of finding a job in Pennsylvania is higher. This is why I don’t get why focusing on absolute jobs created is a valuable metric.

    If I move to Texas because they created X jobs, but X+(X/2) people are looking for jobs, why is that a smarter bet than moving to Pennsylvania where they’re creating fewer jobs, say Y, where Y = X-(X/2), but only Y+(Y/4) people are looking for jobs? (If that vague representation is confusing for you, it’s a dumb way of saying that you are competing against fewer people for each job in PA than in TX).

  12. politicalmath says:

    Jim, an unemployment rate has nothing to do with your “chance” at getting a job. It is a simple “employed – to – unemployed” comparison. If the unemployed people leave the labor force without getting a job, the unemployment rate goes down. This does not increase the “chance” that someone else will get a job.

    If we’re talking about “chances” of getting a job, we’re talking about job movement over time. If a state is losing jobs month over month, you’re looking at negative job movement over time, which means you’re looking at a lower “chance” at getting a job. You’re always better off at a place where the raw number of jobs is increasing.

    Texas is absorbing job seekers. Maybe you think they’re not absorbing them fast enough, but the fact of the matter is that they’re absorbing them faster than any other state in the country.

    Much faster.

    This post is just saying that Texas is the #1 job creator. By a lot. Even when considering several factors, Texas is far and away a monster job creating engine. Now maybe being 1st place isn’t good enough for you, but then I don’t really know what to say.

  13. t.j. says:

    fantastic job! thanks for compiling all the data/statistics for us. some of us already know that texas is the greatest state in the nation, but folks from the other 49 (jealous!!) need to know texas exceptionalism too! :~))

  14. ctech says:

    Thanks for the post! One suggestion though: I’d love to see labels on the x and y axes of your graphs and some titles, too. It takes me awhile to understand what I’m looking at and having to look back and forth between the text and the graph has proven to not be as effective as some labels.


  15. DanMan says:

    wow! guess I’ll stay awhile

  16. Jim (pthread) says:

    No, it very much discusses your chance of getting a job (obviously at high level, leaving out individual skills and needs in various sectors). As you point out, it’s employed vs unemployed, accounting for people actually looking. If that unemployment number is low, regardless of whether the economy is shedding jobs or gaining them, your chances of find a new job are much better. If that number is higher, regardless of whether the economy overall is shedding jobs it is going to be harder.

    Do you honestly believe it’s easier to find a job in Texas right now at 8.2% unemployment than say North Dakota at 3.2%? Of course you don’t. Let’s not be silly here.

    Further, you ignored my other point regarding adding to the unemployment lines. I checked, and it appears based on bls.gov that Texas not only has added the most new jobs, but it’s expanded its unemployed by the second most as well.

    I think considering this properly demonstrates why considering absolute job creation is a poor measure of anything. Certainly I wouldn’t attempt to argue that Texas has been a horrible state for working people to live in because it has the second most unemployed people added over the past decade. That’s preposterous. You have to take into account jobs created as well. And of course the reverse is true.

    I think this is patently obvious, but I’ll pass on making a snarky remark about what may or may not be good for you. I’d appreciate it if in the future you granted me the same privilege.

  17. Greg Q says:

    “A related question, and correct me if I’m wrong on this one: isn’t a necessary consequence of leaning on the fact that Texas has created a lot of jobs (in the absolute sense) recognition of the fact that they must have put *even more* people in the unemployment line (again, in an absolute sense) to have had their unemployment rate go up?”


    Did you even bother to read the post, because your claim completely misses the point. Oh well, I’ll take one stab at it with a simple example:

    100 people lose their jobs in PA. They then all move to TX. 90 of them get jobs in the next month. What is the effects on the statistics?

    Well, PA keeps its low unemployment (none of those people are unemployed there), and loses some overall jobs and population.

    TX gains 100 people, 90 jobs, and a slight increase in the unemployment rate, since of the 100 people who moved there, 10% are still unemployed.

    People are moving to Texas because that’s where opportunity is, that’s where jobs are. If you want to disprove this claim, you need an employment survey that looks at how long the unemployed in Texas have lived in Texas. Got one?

  18. Joel Mackey says:

    DO NOT COME TO TEXAS! There are Mexican gangs that will shoot you, gang rape you, and burn you, then hang you.

    You will get a minimum wage job, because all the high paying jobs go to native texans only, they do a blood test.

    You will have to associate with rednecks who vote republican and believe abortion is murder, they will also ask you if you love Jesus!

    If after all that, you stupidly still want to come to Texas, just promise Texas this one small thing. Do not vote in any election period. If your judgement in selecting politicians was any good, you would not be leaving where you are coming from, so do not bring your flawed voting decisions to Texas and screw it up too.

  19. politicalmath says:


    I’d love to look at your data about this rather than playing theoretical mental games about how people find work.

    Here’s your task: Find the data on how long people are unemployed by state. This would tell us a great deal more about the composition of the unemployed and the “chances” of finding a job.

    As for “adding” to the unemployment lines, you’ve provided no data that Texas is “adding” to the unemployment lines rather than that they unemployed are moving to Texas to look for a job.

    So, find the data to support your position. Then we can talk.

  20. Greg Q says:

    I’m going to join in with the others and say this is a great post. Thanks!

    One thought: Do you know the “underemployed” and “discouraged worker” rates for Texas. I’d be really interested to see how those compare to the rates for the US, but have no idea how to go about getting them.

  21. Jim (pthread) says:

    Actually, sorry, I misspoke, Texas is 3rd (behind California and Florida) in absolute numbers of people added to the unemployment line in over the last 10 years.

  22. amy says:

    Jim, as a Texan, I’d like to say, “Please continue thinking you are correct despite raw data showing otherwise. Texas would be a terrible terrible place for you.”

    Also, I am going to save this quote “If that unemployment number is low, regardless of whether the economy is shedding jobs or gaining them, your chances of find a new job are much better.” It’s probably one of the most awesome things I’ve seen in quite a while. Bravo sir.

  23. David says:

    My personal favorite mini-stat is to compare the two largest states, CA and TX. CA has lost roughly 500k jobs since the recession began, TX gained about 600k.

    So I like to say, CA and TX have, between them, increased jobs by 100k: TX has increased them by 600k and CA has lost 500k.

    (Plz note that I say “gained” rather than “created” as I agree that governments do little to create jobs, the best you can hope for is that they don’t destroy too many.)

  24. Rob says:

    Met a fellow in a bar the other day here in Austin. He had just moved to Austin two days earlier, from California. He had been unemployed in California and he hadn’t found a job yet in Austin. He said he moved here for at least a hope of a job and that he loved California, but hated its government so much he could no longer suffer to live there.

    As for Rick Perry, I would say he played a part in fueling the Texas economy. If nothing else, he’s been a tireless voice saying over and over that government should be as small and unobtrusive as possible and that the federal government should keep its nose out of state business.

    Interesting to see what will happen to his anti-federalist beliefs if he gets elected.

  25. homeboy says:

    How much of the population growth is related to illegal immigration in Texas?

  26. amy says:

    homeboy – There are ‘supposedly’ about 1.2 million illegals in Texas. I’d say you can probably safely triple that number if you include those using stolen/forged identities. The illegals are nearly all working though, so I’m not entirely sure how you factor that in. Not sure about the growth rate.

  27. Jim (pthread) says:

    I’m unclear on why I need to provide data to wield an absolute number without context but you do not. Clearly migrants coming to Texas is a large part of why the number of jobs created has been so large. Do you have data that shows migrants to Texas haven’t, by and large, had a positive impact on Texas’s economy?

    That’s an exceedingly difficult question to answer either way, and I think you know that. I’ll reiterate my question above, asking if you know of any good sources that break down demographics of migrants at a state level, beyond just ethnicity and into education, wealth, and even perhaps (most helpful) how long it took them to find a job upon arriving.

    Certainly I’m not the one trying to make the claim here that there’s anything extraordinary about Texas, so I shouldn’t have to be the one making this argument.

    I’m happy to do so if you know of any good sources of data, but based on the data you provided, your argument simply isn’t supported.

  28. Jim (pthread) says:

    (argument one that is)

  29. Would like to see what the U.S. unemployment numbers would look like if Texas were not growing jobs at faster than the national rate, and those otherwise unemployed people were included in the national unemployment calculations. Next post, perhaps?

  30. […] is a very interesting blog post at Political Math (via Instapundit) explaining why the attacks on Rick Perry based on Texas’ […]

  31. furious says:

    Question about the BLS numbers and, in particular, wage data…

    BLS released a report on 2010 jobs data showing Texas tied with Mississippi at 9.5% w/highest proportion of hourly workers earning at/below minimum wage, and in TX min. wage is same as Fed’l std.


    Are there any cross-tabs’ data correlating min. wage earners with age, time in work force, or immigration status? As I understand the data, the BLS tabulates for all workers regardless of immigration status.

    Given the in-migration to TX, the even greater growth of the Hispanic population and its relative youth, and the likelihood of a large pool of undocumented workers, be interesting to see how wage rates correspond, or not, and if there is dynamic data on length of time subjects remain at min. wage.

    Jim (pthread):
    Unemployment rate is moving target. It can go up because fewer people are employed(numerator) or because more people enter the workforce to look for work (denominator), or both. A state can have a lower unemployment rate because the unemployed give up looking for work and leave the labor force or a higher one because people in-migrate and begin looking for work. One would need to look at, say, the 18-65 population, the percentage of those in the labor force, the percentage of the labor force employed, and changes over time, to see how well a state maintains/grows its employment base.

  32. Machinist says:

    Very impressive post showing a lot of hard work and clear thinking. Thank you.

  33. Big D says:

    Regarding the unemployment rate…

    As some folks are trying to explain, the problem here is that half of the primary metrics are snapshots, and taking a series of snapshots does not always adequately introduce time as a variable.

    A good metric might be the average or median length of time between moving to Texas (with no specific offer or prospect) and obtaining employment. This would directly answer some of the concerns raised above. AFAIK, there is no such metric available, and obtaining sufficient unskewed data might be problematic at best.

    It’s not all that different from the issue of income distribution as a snapshot at any given point in time, versus studies that have tracked the income mobility of samples of individuals over time. What looks like a distinct set of fixed classes in the collected snapshots begins to blur when drilling down to individual life paths over time.

  34. Silverback says:

    The math is quite murky and the story that it tells depends on who’s telling and how numbers being used. But go to Dallas and look around. Compare the quality of economic life to pretty much anywhere else in the U.S. You won’t have to bring a calculator to see that Texas is in a different world than the rest of the Obama-wracked nation.

  35. Jim (pthread) says:

    Oh, and to Greg Q:

    Regarding your hypothetical, I think you fail to miss the point because you haven’t taken your example to the next iteration. If 100 people leave Pennsylvania, go to Texas, and only 10 of them find jobs there, what does that say about Texas’s ability to provide jobs as compared to Pennsylvania’s? Pennsylvania now has 100 fewer people competing for jobs, while Texas has 100 more.

    Now consider that Texas is seeing immigration from not just Pennsylvania, but most states in the US as well as foreign immigration.

    Things just got easier for Pennsylvania job seekers, and harder for job seekers in Texas. That’s pretty cut and dry.

  36. BillyBob32 says:

    This article is BS and so is everyone here acting like it proves something.

    If the argument is texas is better at job growth all you had to do was compare private sector non energy job growth percentages to that of other states…

    Yet the only statistic that mattered was completely left out. Maybe on purpose? Maybe he learned statistics in the texas school system? i dunno.

    But this whole thing 100% failed at making a point, and you can take that statistic to the bank.

  37. Mike Eustace says:

    Found this by a link via Instapundit. My hat is off to you because you obviously are not a Perry or Texas fan, yet you have the integrity to call it as it is. Speaking as a Texan, I have to say Rick Perry deserves a significant amount of credit just because he ignored the media and others who are always campaigning for Texas to be more like California or some northeastern state, and stayed the conservative fiscal course. Our conservative legislature deserves equal credit.

    What Texas has done is something to brag about considering how much obama has tried to hurt our economy (if you haven’t heard, do some research), but what is truly amazing is Texas has prospered despite the majority of our fellow states with all the attendant interconnected economic ties being in a virtual depression. It is like we are dragging dead weight to have almost everyone in our family of states riding on our backs.

    In would be interesting to see what the U.S. economic condition would look like with Texas excluded from the statistics. My guess is that the numbers would be much scarier than they already are.

    Anyway, lots of folks in other states are anti-Texas/anti-Texan, and maybe we deserve some of the insults, but if we are truly a 50 state economic experiment, the evidence is in that a low tax, mildly regulated, low lawsuit state that makes use of its natural resources is the most successful. I visited California in February, and as a Texan, this is hard to say, but California has been blessed with all natural resources Texas has and even more, yet they are an economic basket case.

    For that reason, I encourage all of you to consider the evidence and vote for the people who will change the direction of this country from the California economic model to the Texas model.

  38. kafer says:

    (Anecdotal) facts on the ground: I’ve recently spent time north of Dallas helping relatives look for affordable housing, and a young adult find a job. Results: office-type employment found. Companies are hiring, but it is competitive.

    Inexpensive housing? Snapped up before you can dial the number. Realtors tell me that houses for lease are “like gold,” leased within days. The market for small houses — 3/2 , maybe 1300 sq. ft., garage, small fenced yard — available for $100/sq.ft., low interest rates, great community amenities — is “hot” and quick-selling. Newer apartments above 90% rented. Earth movers and construction crews are busy clearing for more housing, a huge new hospital, shopping development and so forth. I saw an incredible number of out-of-state license plates.

    Guess what else seems to be going up? Crime: neighborhood and apartment disturbances, theft, drugs. That too is based on my relatives’ experiences and realtors’ comments, so I have no stats.

  39. […] From the blog: Political Math Great analysis from a self-proclaimed non-Perry supporter. Rick Perry and Texas Job Numbers Full disclosure: I don't like Rick Perry for our next president. I have my reasons that aren't […]

  40. CG says:

    Thank you very much for this, sir.

  41. Silverback says:

    More anecdotes: I moved to North Texas a year ago because good, stable jobs were being added faster than they could be filled. The opportunities are still multiplying. People are still coming.

    I call BS on the housing comment. I’ve lived in every corner of the country and have never seen a housing market that gives more “bang for the buck”. Perhaps if one insists on living in a luxurious downtown condo, the competition is still great. In the burbs we are paying a fraction of the housing costs, compared to other major metro areas. You can look that one up.

    No, you indeed won’t have crime stats that back your observation.

  42. amy says:

    ” If 100 people leave Pennsylvania, go to Texas, and only 10 of them find jobs there, what does that say about Texas’s ability to provide jobs as compared to Pennsylvania’s? Pennsylvania now has 100 fewer people competing for jobs, while Texas has 100 more.
    Now consider that Texas is seeing immigration from not just Pennsylvania, but most states in the US as well as foreign immigration.
    Things just got easier for Pennsylvania job seekers, and harder for job seekers in Texas. That’s pretty cut and dry.

    What in your hypothetical leads you to believe the job situation is any better in PA? If 100 people left the state for the mere HOPE of a job elsewhere, that should tell you the situation they left behind is terrible.

  43. ID says:

    Good job on not accepting the political establishment’s talking points. You are now officially a better journalist than 99.9% of the “professional journalists” out there.

  44. Thank you for investigating this, and maintaining objectivity. It’s not easy to do, and most people settle for what appeases their personal views instead of looking further. Well done :)

  45. Shefali says:

    I appreciate FACTS based arguments rather than opinions, and I appreciate this article because of the raw data provided plus the graphs that make it easier to decipher.

    I also think that, while government cannot create jobs, it CAN create an environment that suppresses job creation by private industry. The more a government taxes a behavior, the less of that behavior naturally occurs. The current environment in Washington is unfriendly to businesses. Therefore, having a President who at least is willing to have a more laissez-faire approach to the economy – that would be a good thing.

    I too have mixed feelings about Rick Perry. I personally think he would be a lot better than the current incumbent, but he is not the best possible candidate. However, unfortunately, Presidential elections are often based on selecting the better of two options. I do have a great deal of faith in America, however, regardless of who ends up being President.

  46. Sam says:

    Joel Mackey
    August 16th, 2011 – 13:26
    “DO NOT COME TO TEXAS! There are Mexican gangs that will shoot you, gang rape you, and burn you, then hang you.
    You will get a minimum wage job, because all the high paying jobs go to native texans only, they do a blood test.
    You will have to associate with rednecks who vote republican and believe abortion is murder, they will also ask you if you love Jesus!
    If after all that, you stupidly still want to come to Texas, just promise Texas this one small thing. Do not vote in any election period. If your judgement in selecting politicians was any good, you would not be leaving where you are coming from, so do not bring your flawed voting decisions to Texas and screw it up too.”

    You forgot to mention that Texas is covered with deadly poison rattle snakes and water moccasins as well as overrun with coyotes and cougars. We also all carry six shooters and “High Noon” style gun-fights are constantly going on. Please for your own safety, stay in Detroit, New York DC, California etc.

    It has also long been said that, “The Devil used to own all of Hell and all of Hell. Texas was too hot for him, so he abandoned Texas and moved to Hell.”

  47. Jim (pthread) says:

    Amy: My argument is that they’re leaving Texas for the cheap cost of living, not specifically because of the promise of jobs (because, as I’ve said, Texas’s unemployment has historically tracked the nation’s pretty well).

  48. djaymick says:

    Wow. This is what investigative journalism used to look like. Democrats love to make up stories when it suits them well. They even have the media echoing their falsehoods. No wonder we are becoming a dumber society. The media used to teach us what was right and wrong. Now, they don’t care about history or facts when it comes to defending “their party”.

  49. RedStateDave says:

    Very good article! I’d imagine the hard left won’t like the results. But then again, they’re the ones who put so much stock into global warming “facts” that have been shown to be completely falsified.

  50. amy says:

    Jim, I give up. Clearly none of us are going to convince you that unemployment numbers are not correlated to success in finding a job in the way you think it is.

  51. […] справа: всякие графики про положение с работой в Техасе. This entry was posted in economy, […]

  52. joated says:

    Very nice analysis. Thanks for your effort.

    BTW, I’m from the north-central part of PA and folks are indeed flocking here as gas drilling and pipeline work booms. Tough to find a rental and small, moderately priced homes are snatched up quickly. Lots of out of state plates in the local parking lots…some are even from Texas!

  53. Jim (pthread) says:

    amy: No, you won’t. Especially in light of this:


    Scroll to page 26, figure 1. It would seem there’s a pretty high correlation between the unemployment rate and success in finding a job. The point of the paper is that the average time to find a job has increased, but changes in time are still very correlated with the unemployment rate.

  54. Jim's mom says:

    It’s completely unfair of you to ask Jim (pthread) to substantiate any of his handwaving bullshit with actual facts and data.

    I can’t believe you guys are being so mean to him. Why can’t you just take his word that all of his evidence-free claims and conjectures are true?

  55. King of Fools says:

    I love the assumption that lower unemployment increases your chance of getting a job. If the number of applications were the only factor, then I guess that could be correct. But if you are in a place with 5% unemployment and no job opening, I guess you just have to take comfort in the fact that there are fewer people competing for the 0 job openings then in other places.

    However, if you are in Texas where job growth is actually happening, and there is 8% unemployment, then I guess you should be really upset that there are more candidates for the real actual jobs offered by employers that are actually hiring people to do work for pay.

    Makes perfect sense.

  56. TexEd says:

    Your facts and presentation are persuasive but the main street media will surely tell us many, many times that Perry is a poo-poo head and that the Blessed Obama knows The Way.
    I’ll reserve judgment on Perry until I know who the democrats will run.

  57. Becky says:

    I consider the 100,000 public sector jobs unsustainable because they aren’t paid for. TX faces enormous budget cuts, including billions from education. I’m concerned that Perry is another Reagan, willing to spend us into oblivion. He hasn’t demonstrated any ability to make tough austerity cuts like the ones we need on a federal level. Interesting thought: billions cut from federal defense spending will hurt the TX economy, probably in time for the 2012 election.

  58. James says:

    Jim, you are clearly grasping at straws here, buddy. The simple facts are right there for you and you won’t let the views that you hold dear (that Texas has added a ton of jobs while Liberal bastions like California have lost a ton….by chance?) bend. As stated above, it’s amazing that Texas’ unemployment rate isn’t higher, honestly. Yet even with the incredible influx of in-migrants and immigrants, it is sitting well below the national average.
    Do us all a favor and make a point, besides arguing over your incredibly unconvincing interpretation of unemployment % and what that means on a state-by-state basis. Are you arguing that Texas’ pro-business, hands-off governmental policies are ineffective? Do you argue that other states with practically opposite policies (CA, and my current state IL) are better off? Because unless you can somehow dig up some numbers to support that claim, I don’t think you’re really convincing anyone whatever it is you’re trying to prove.

  59. rm1948 says:

    Sorry, don’t have the charts as requested but one caution: Texas runs counter-cyclical over time. I’ve been here since ’78. There have been 2 downturns where Texas did well during the downturn but had its own downturn while the rest of the country experienced and upturn.

  60. MarkD says:

    Joated, I’ll bet some of them are from New York. We have gas, but won’t drill for it for fear of pollution.

    It would serve us right to be left freezing to death in the dark. When I’m retired or laid off, I’m gone.

  61. The Schaef says:

    @Jim – if the chances of finding work in Pennsylvania were better than Texas, they would not have moved to Texas in the first place. You suppose that emigration increases the chances of the people left behind, but you forget the main point that 90% of the people living there have jobs already, and the whole problem with the remaining 10% is that there’s no job for them NOW. If there was, then a). they wouldn’t leave because b). they would already be employed. There’s not magically going to be a job for the people living in that state that wasn’t there a month ago just because there are fewer unemployed people to divide up the (non) jobs.

    And population growth is a valid confounding factor precisely BECAUSE the unemployment rate in Texas has followed a similar line to other states. States like Pennsylvania and Ohio have had a nearly flat line of population growth over the last 30 years, growing only about 2% and 1% respectively in the years since the economy peaked in 07. The population of Texas has grown by about 4% in that same time period, and has been been increasing consistently for the last 20 years.

    So not only did unemployment in Texas level off at about 8% instead of the nearly 9% in PA and 10.6% in Ohio, but it did so while growing at 2-4x the rate of those other states. Pennsylvania lost jobs at a *faster* rate with *fewer* people entering the job market. That is the statistical opposite of having a better chance at a job after people leave.

  62. Mac says:

    No stats here, but two anecdotes that conform to those presented. 1. My daughter moved to Texas after college for a job on the fast track to management with a national company (raises every 6 months). Socially, a large number of her friends moved there from Calif (many in IT). 2. I have a client (native Texan) who had moved to Calif for business reasons, and moved back a few months later when he learned it was costing him 300K a year in state income tax to live in Calif.

  63. Shannon Love says:

    The strongest argument against Perry is that Texas has the weakest governor of any of the states so he can’t claim the sole credit for Texas’ performance as he might in other states.

    The Texas constitution spreads many of the powers most states give to the governors over the governor, the lieutenant governor, the speaker and the state comptroller. All state senior executives are elected in their own right. So, economically sound government in Texas is the result of a broad political culture of responsibility and not the result of a single good leader.

    Texas is sound today because of the actual depression we struggle through alone during the period from 1984-1994 as a result of the oil bust. We jettisoned a century of populist quasi-socialism because other people’s money ran out and adopted a free-market approach. An entire generation got a hard lesson in the dangers of high government spending 20 years before the rest of the nation did. We learned to keep government small and business friendly because we had to in order to survive.

    Perry deserves some credit for all this because he has been governor but frankly, if it hadn’t been Perry it would have been someone else just like him because that is what the political culture of Texas demanded.

    In the end, it is not political leaderships but the wisdom and discipline of the people that counts in America. It won’t do any good to elect Perry President if most of the country still thinks they can get things for free.

  64. Dmitry says:

    I spent 5 minutes reading the post, and find it convincing.
    But what is FAR MORE convincing is that 700K+ people decided to move to TX: they bet their lives that jobs in TX are easier to find, so probably spent much more time and efforts in looking for the realistic, not polemic, answer for “where it is easier to find a job”?

    BTW, in my narrow specialty (theoretical math) the TX progress during several last years is simply amazing. I would not be surprised if they’ll jump to the first places in the rating in a few years.

  65. Boyd says:

    “Jim, I give up. Clearly none of us are going to convince you …”

    Aggravating for sure but not really too hard to predict. Read Thomas Sewell’s. “A Conflict of Visions” for the explanation as to why Jim won’t budge. Ideology is pretty much immune to change in the face of facts. Argument for the sake of argument till you get to the point of giving up as you have – that’s the game. Don’t give up the fight, just give up changing ideologues.

  66. Ellen Pierce says:

    Wow, no mention of hurricanes, once. No post-Katrina evacuees moving to Texas or people coming to Texas after Ike in ’08 to rebuild Galveston? Louisiana lagged behind the rest of the nation in unemployment because of post-Katrina rebuilding.

  67. Greg Q says:

    Well, I’ve figured out the problem with Jim, he’s innumerate. I posted a hypothetical where 100 people move to Texas, and 90 of them get jobs (raising the TX unemployment rate since 10% of those who moved are unemployed). He referred to my hypothetical, but talked about *10* people getting a job.

    Clearly, we see what happens when you can’t tell the difference between being employed and being unemployed.

    Let’s try a different example, using two states we’ll call PA and TX. We’ll give PA a population of 5 million workers + job seekers, and TX a population of 10 million workers + job seekers. We’ll give PA a 5% unemployment rate, and TX an 8% unemployment rate.

    There are therefore 250,000 job seekers in PA, and 800,000 job seekers in TX.

    This month, PA will have 10,000 people lose jobs, 10,360 gain jobs, and 1,000 job seekers move out of the state. (4% chance of finding a job, jobless rate remains at 5% (4.98% if you want to get picky))

    This month, we’ll add 20,000 job seekers to TX, have 20,000 people lose jobs (same % as PA), and have 38,400 people get jobs there. This keeps the jobless rate exactly the same, but you have a 4.57% chance of finding a job in TX that month.

    Understand? Or are you simply so wedded to the idea that Rick Perry == Bad that nothing can ever convince you how wrong you are on this argument?

  68. […] be quite a formidable political figure — a man with an impressive record to tout (take a look at this and some undeniable political skills (he has never lost a race). Second, support for the previous […]

  69. Jim (pthread) says:

    People, you all seem a bit confused. I concede all points made in this blog entry aside from the idea that absolute job growth is a proper metric for measuring whether an economy is booming. Further, I’m pretty sure I’ve also mentioned that I think Perry’s stance on immigration is dead on right (as was Bush’s). I also am not attempting to claim there’s particularly anything *wrong* with the economy of Texas, or that Perry has done anything wrong in handling it.

    What I’m after is the truth on one particular point made in this blog post. Many of you seem more than happy to simply project on myself (or in several cases the author of this blog post) all sorts of nasty things regarding my (or his) intellect or motivations. You aren’t going to see me resort to ridiculous charges about Perry giving a Nazi salute or whatever crazy things are being said about his religious affiliation. I’m trying to be objective and fact-based here. I’m not sitting here slinging insults at any of you, nor the candidate you seemingly support. Please do me the same favor. So far The Schaef has been the only person able to disagree without being a condescending dick about it.

    As to The Schaef’s point, my entire premise is that I don’t think we necessarily know about the effects of migration to Texas from other states. You seem to be of the opinion that their rate is what it is *in-spite* of the population shift. Is it also possible that it is what it is because of it? I don’t think we necessarily know enough to argue either way, but we do know certainly that their absolute numbers (both in jobs and the unemployed) are disproportionately large because of the influx of people.

    GregQ: Apparently it’s reading, not math that’s my problem. I had read that as “90 don’t get jobs in the next month”. Regardless, I think it’s clear it was a mistake.

    As to your example, you’ve created an example where the jobless rate stays the same. Of course if you add more people to Texas but don’t make the unemployment rate rise, the “success” rate will be higher.

    You seem to have missed this paper I link to:


    which shows a pretty clear correlation between unemployment rates and how long it takes to find a job. Lower unemployment == easier to find a job. It’s simply not up for debate, the data is right there. I’m not claiming causation, just pointing out the high correlation.

  70. Moderate independent says:

    Until I read this, I was leaning toward Obama because I thought Republicans were too extreme. Now that I have seen Jim get taken apart like the cowardly retarded draft dodger he is, I will support Rick Perry.

  71. Jacob says:

    As a non-fan of Rick Perry, I accept the analysis here and agree that something good is happening in Texas.

    Now I challenge all the conservatives here who are high-fiving the Perry analysis to read another piece by the same author and accept that the U.S. government needs to raise taxes in addition to cutting spending: http://www.politicalmathblog.com/?p=1509

  72. Slay says:

    “The strongest argument against Perry is that Texas has the weakest governor of any of the states so he can’t claim the sole credit for Texas’ performance as he might in other states.”

    That would’ve worked ten years ago… but every person involved in Texas that I know (and a very good deal aside) have long said that Perry has made the governorship more powerful than it has been at any point in history, and even more powerful than govs. in most other states.

  73. John says:

    As a native Texan, I wish to hell our economy did suck and that we were losing jobs and that people were evacuating as fast as the interstate could carry them away.

    That is not the case, we are growing rapidly, and many of the refugees from the other failed states are coming here and bringing their stupid ideas with them. I wish California and New York would fix their economies and take these people back before they can do any more damage down here. For god’s sake people, the joke is over, go back were you came from and fix you own damn state rather than destroying ours.

  74. Marc L says:

    I to am not a fan of Rick Perry! To just talk about jobs is short sighted. What about quality of life? How does Texas rank with the other fifty states in education, health care, health insurance, pollution, cancer rates, racism, prison population, infrastructure, real and future debt, illegal immgrants, violent crime, social serves and criminal justice system. If one looks at the statistics they will find Texas is first or almost first in every thing bad and last or almost last in every thing good, except in growth of population and the resulting jobs! My family got here in 1848 and I am still wondering what Texans should be proud of! If anyone can show or tell me I would be grateful and very surprised. Rick Perrry is just another pawn of the filthy rich elite owners of the Corporate cartells. This less than one percent are bribing guys like Rick Perry to screw the other 99% of the population!

  75. […] you cannot say they aren’t there. Political Math delivers the master stroke in the employment wars. There are plenty of graphs at the link, but you might start here: I […]

  76. John says:

    Marc. Did you miss the note:

    Note: If you are going to comment and you want to introduce some new objection to the Texas job numbers, you MUST provide original data. I spent about 4 hours digging through raw data to write this post.

    Put up, or shut up.

  77. Boyd says:

    “accept that the U.S. government needs to raise taxes in addition to cutting spending”

    Kevin Williamson (who coincidentally has posted an essay on just this Texas topic at NRO) is no friend of cuts only either. He is a bright man and makes it clear that just cuts can’t really ever pencil out. Whether one agrees or not the fact is Conservatives (that would be me) see tax increases to close the deficit the same as we see amnesty to solve the illigal immigrant problem from Mexico. If we could actually believe the intent of amnesty was to have one last go at legalizing those here and the boarders would be closed after that, few Conservatives would oppose it. But we know that is not the intent of those pushing amnesty so complete opposition is the only course open.

    Similarly, if tax increases were certain to be spent to lower the debt to a controllable level, I suspect many Conservatives would buy that. But that is not what will happen. It will be spent on bridges to nowhere, new furniture for Barney Frank’s office and more goodies for the entitlement class and we all know it. The Government is beyond out of control and we will not be fooled again.

  78. Wayne Wilden says:

    I’ve been living in Houston for 20-30 years.

    I’m no economist, but the fact that the national housing bubble and subsequent collapse was not NEARLY as big here, is a huge factor in the Texas economy’s success.

    Yes, True, We are a no state income tax, pro-business state. But the S&L/Banking crisis, we weathered in the 1980’s taught us (hopefully) to not be anti-all regulation. By State law, Texans were not allowed to borrow as aggressively against their own property here as much as Americans were elsewhere. Housing prices never boomed nor busted that much.

    I think this insulated us.

  79. Matt says:

    Thanks for bringing data to this discussion. I had noticed the same thing while doing research in response to a misleading Paul Krugman column some time back. He has since doubled down on disinformation in a more recent post.

    It constantly amazes me that a Nobel Laureate is either that lazy-minded or simply that transparently partisan. I do not know which is the case, but I find it hard to support the notion of people calling Krugman both honest and intelligent.

    He can’t be both, so I tend to lean towards his being simply dishonest.

    This data shreds him to pieces, which is not the first time that has happened. In fact it happens with great regularity.

  80. SER says:

    As a native and old (53) Texan, I don’t give Gov. Perry very much credit (I don’t dislike him, though). It is just that the people of Texas haven’t wanted much in the way of government involvement – so people are free to start businesses. I believe that the same is true for most people in the United States. We just need to encourage small business people and discourage government regulations.

  81. Ian P says:

    I think the fact that 1 in 4 Texans lack health insurance pretty much solidifies the fact that a lot of the jobs being created there are, indeed, crappy. (Unless of course, any of you want to work for me without getting medical coverage).

  82. John says:

    Ian, you know some people actually decide if they want to buy health care coverage or not, some times even taking a job that doesn’t offer it, because it better fits their individual circumstance. Your myopic mind set that ties your heath care coverage to your employment is a personal failing, not a public one.

  83. Ryan says:

    Texas by the numbers:
    47th in SAT scores
    50th in percentage of population over 25 with a high school diploma
    5th in percentage of children living in poverty
    32nd in per capita income
    49th in child immunization
    1st in population without health insurance
    3rd in poverty
    3rd in malnourishment
    5th in teenage birth rate
    7th in obesity
    18th in heart disease
    1st in air pollution emissions
    1st in carbon dioxide emissions
    42nd in average hourly earnings
    2nd in income equality between rich and poor
    50th in homeowner’s insurance affordability
    50th in electric bill affordability
    6th in total crime rate
    12th in violent crime rate

    Those and much more at http://shapleigh.org/system/news_article/document/882/Texas_on_the_Brink_2007_Final.pdf

    Check the footnotes for sources.

  84. Jon says:

    Where are you getting the figure that 739,000 people moved to Texas over that period (I assume that is the net figure, after those going the other way have been subtracted)? You seem to be assuming that Texas population growth is driven by migration from other states, but my recollection is that about 80% of Texas population growth since the 2000 census has been due to natural increase from a high birth rate, and immigration from other countries, mostly Mexico.

  85. TexasGiant says:

    Last time I checked, Ian P, nobody is stopping the uninsured from purchasing health insurance! If you just stop and look, you will find serious personal priority problems with a great percentage of the “uninsured”. We are tired of the whiners that complain about not being able to afford $4.00/day while they smoke cigarettes, drink liquor, talk an smart phones and drive around with $4,000.00 chrome rims. I done with them…

  86. John says:

    I did check the foot notes, did you? Could you possibly find some sources that are not blatantly aligned with socialist ideology?

    Center for Community Change
    Center for Public Policy Priorities
    Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy

  87. emmaliza says:

    The greatest strength of Gov. Perry’s philosophy is that he believes in state’s rights and that social, divisive issues are state-not national issues. (His comment on NY’s gay marriage law was that was the reason for having states’ rights, was people could then choose where they wanted to live based on the different values of that state.) That philosophy is the only way I can see to have a national government that functions, unlike what we are seeing in Washington. As Rasmussen polls have shown consistently, Americans do not want to be governed by the right or the left; they want to govern themselves. Traditional Texas values include tolerance for others’ viewpoints, as long as those aren’t forced on everyone.

  88. FGG says:

    “…but Texas would still be growing like a weed without it.” Is that unequivocally true? To make that claim you would have to demonstrate that the non-energy growth was not at all ancillary to the growth in the energy sector (construction, service, etc.). Your article completely glosses over this issue.

  89. John says:

    by the way Ryan:

    Your link:

    Lists that Texas is number 1 in executions, this is as big a lie as most of the “facts” in the link. Texas is number 2. (we used to be number 3, but we are making progress)

  90. Diogenes says:

    What would be the impact on your analysis is you removed BOTH the economic impact of the O&G industry & oil prices AND the economic impact from being uniquely located to be the primary beneficiary for trade w/ Mexoico given the common border?

    In other words, remove the effects of “God given” natural resources & happening to be in the right place border location from your analysis & what do you get??

  91. Mark says:

    I deal with these questions every day and have a degree in econometrics, yet I can’t quite make out the point of your final graph. The number of jobs in any state is closely related to the number of people who live in that state, because those people make up the bulk of the demand for goods and services produced in the state. This varies by the type of industries in the state, the size of the state, the nature of the state’s borders, yada yada but it is always true to a large extent.

    If 30,000 people left Wisconsin since the recession started then, all things being equal, we’d expect the number of jobs in Wisconsin to have dropped. If 700,000 people entered Texas during that time then, all things being equal, we’d expect the number of jobs in Texas to have increased sharply.

    If you’re analyzing how the jobs situation has changed over time in different states, it makes no sense to try to remove the effects of these changes in state populations over that time. Instead we should try to measure how each state performed in a way that incorporates the expected changes in jobs numbers that are due to changing populations. And this is just another way of saying we should look at how unemployment rates in each state (which, more or less, reflect the number of jobs relative to population) have changed over time. There are plenty of things to quibble over with this method too, but if you need to graph a single statistic for measuring the relative performances of the states with respect to jobs in a consistent way, unemployment rate is the best.

  92. John says:

    Diogenes, given that California would have the same benefits as well as Pacific trade, what is their excuse? I suppose you would have Utah. Possibly Montana, still would not have New York or Massachusetts.

  93. Mike says:

    “If this were true, all these new low-paying jobs should be dragging down the wages data, right?”

    The business-friendly atmosphere of Texas has led to a lot of corporate headquarters to move there. With the growing salary gap between executives and “regular workers,” each added executive could offset an increasing number of low-wage workers when averaging everyone together.

    I think a better way to confirm or refute the “most of the new jobs are crappy” argument would simply be to compare the number of minimum/below minumum-wage jobs added relative to the total number of jobs added since the recession began. I don’t know how to do this, so my comment therefore does not satisfy the “put up” criteria.

  94. John says:

    “If 30,000 people left Wisconsin since the recession started then, all things being equal, we’d expect the number of jobs in Wisconsin to have dropped. If 700,000 people entered Texas during that time then, all things being equal, we’d expect the number of jobs in Texas to have increased sharply.”

    You really miss the whole cause and effect paradigm. Your statement is like saying that if you want smaller fires, send fewer fire trucks.

  95. John says:

    “each added executive could offset an increasing number of low-wage workers when averaging everyone together”

    Very likely true since those executives would need their grass mowed, food served, coffee pored, shelves stocked, and a thousand other things that would employee low skilled people. I suppose it is better to wait for nonexistent “good job” (what ever that means) than to take a lower paying job offer.

  96. Michael K says:

    Not sure why anyone thinks this discredits Krugman. We have a correlation/causation disconnect here. The facts merely say that the Texas has the largest increase in total population and also the largest increase in employed population.

    An apt point that Krugman makes is that Texas has a very low COST OF LIVING (http://www.top50states.com/cost-of-living-by-state.html), especially so for a warm weather state. It’s not surprising that people forced out of homes in pricier markets would migrate to Texas.

    Texas also has half the rate of underwater mortgages as the national average (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=129424619). This may have something to do with the fact that it has unusually strong predatory lending laws (http://www.dallasfed.org/research/swe/2008/swe0806b.cfm), which is something Krugman points out as well, and which has nothing to do with Perry or Republican policies.

  97. Gustav says:

    In seventh grade, we learned how pie charts, bar graphs, and line graphs can be used to prove anything….even when the actual charts show no such thing.

    Texas has no income tax so anytime the economy gets slammed, people move to areas where the slam isn’t happening as bad. Increase in population means an increase in needs of goods and services. TaDAA…..job growth.

    Real simple…….Perry is nothing more than Bush Version 2.0. Have we learned nothing from our experience with the original Bush and Bush Version 1.5 ?

  98. David says:

    Let’s switch the order of two sentences in the post:

    “Since the recession started hourly wages in Texas have increased at a 6th fastest pace in the nation.”

    “Texas median hourly wage is $15.14… almost exactly in the middle of the pack (28th out of 51 regions).”

    Large percentage increase, but still not quite middle of the pack. So how large are the salaries of the new jobs?

  99. Palmetto Patriot says:

    Defending poor, backwards Texas from the racist left. A data-filled dance through fields of wisdom:

  100. Jim says:

    Interesting analysis on numbers… but can you relate the numbers to anything Perry can take credit for? As mentioned, Texas can lure businesses and employees down to Texas because it is centrally located and you typically don’t have to deal with severe winters here. (I live in Texas.) Perhaps tax breaks and no state income tax lure people here away from other states. How is this formula going to work for the US?

  101. Jim T says:

    Don’t forget that the official unemployment figures are only calculated using people who are actively looking for a job. There are millions of ‘discouraged’ workers around the country who are no longer looking for work because they have given up in disgust. I would suppose (but have not put the time into number crunching that our host has) that there is a much smaller percentage of these discouraged workers in Texas than in other states with ‘officially’ lower unemployment. Looking at the labor force participation rates of some of the various states might be interesting.

  102. John says:

    Gustav, you recognize that your basic argument is: “Texas is growing because it has a good economic climate compared to other states” Yes, I think we all agree that is happening. Perhaps someone should think about changing the economic climate of those other states to lure these people back.

  103. Ben Childs says:

    It’s pretty clear that the unemployment problem is directly related to the bursting of the housing bubble, and it seems that those states with higher home prices had further to fall. Interestingly, it was Texas’ nanny-state regulation in regards to home refinancing that is driving their current success.

  104. Deoxy says:


    Yes, that paper is really nifty, and no one on this thread is disagreeing that, historically and generally, there is a “pretty clear correlation between unemployment rates and how long it takes to find a job”. That is absolutely true.

    But what YOU are missing is that, also historically and generally, populations are fairly stable – higher unemployment results from fewer jobs available, which increases unemployment BECAUSE there aren’t enough jobs. Shortage of jobs causes unemployment to rise and keeps it there by making it hard to find another job.

    That is, you aren’t taking causation into account AT ALL, and you are making a hard rule out of a historical soft trend.

    Job availability is the driver. Length of unemployment is an effect. Population movement relative to job availability can (and does) disrupt the trend.

    Greg Q gave a great example (go read it again), but in the interest of making this even more clear, here’s a simpler one:

    In state X, there are 800 jobs available and 1,000 job seekers out of a population of 10,000. In state Y, there is 1 job available and 100 job seekers out of a population of 10,000. The current unemployment rate in X is 10 times HIGHER than the rate in Y, but the chances of actually getting a job in X are *80* times better.

    Can you see that in that simple example? I don’t give a crap how low your unemployment is, if there are no jobs available, your chances of getting a job are **0**. I don’t care how high your unemployment is, if there are more jobs available than people to fill them, your chances of getting a job are VERY VERY good.

    Unemployment level only TENDS to predict how easy or hard it will be to get a job – it’s a decent rule of thumb, nothing more.

  105. TJ says:

    “I did check the foot notes, did you? Could you possibly find some sources that are not blatantly aligned with socialist ideology?”

    What does ideology have to do with performance numbers? Sure, some polling / opinion things could definitely be swayed by ideology, but you can’t say that things like ratings in SAT performance are ideologically biased ….

    Or maybe you can, but then you’d make your own ‘math’ seem just as equally biased.

    Just because the numbers show horrible performance does not make them ideologically biased ….

    Texas by the numbers:
    47th in SAT scores
    50th in percentage of population over 25 with a high school diploma
    5th in percentage of children living in poverty
    32nd in per capita income
    49th in child immunization
    1st in population without health insurance
    3rd in poverty
    3rd in malnourishment
    5th in teenage birth rate
    7th in obesity
    18th in heart disease
    1st in air pollution emissions
    1st in carbon dioxide emissions
    42nd in average hourly earnings
    2nd in income equality between rich and poor
    50th in homeowner’s insurance affordability
    50th in electric bill affordability
    6th in total crime rate
    12th in violent crime rate

  106. John says:

    Jim, I am with you on that, I don’t think Perry can do anything, but I don’t believe any President can. Presidents cant create jobs, but they can quickly destroy them. Disconcerting government regulations either overly burdensome or overly complicated can quickly kill businesses. Scaling back government involvement to simple, easy to follow and understand, and evenly enforced regulations could help a great deal.

  107. Dan says:

    All of these graphs obscure the simple fact of the numbers: that Texas employment has grown almost evenly with its increase in population. More people live there, so more people work there.

    Here’s a graph that shows the real story: http://research.stlouisfed.org/fredgraph.png?g=1CV

    In fact, as the graph shows, employment has grown *slower* than population.

    If you want to compare to other states, you have to compare apples to apples – let’s see whether other states’ employment has grown or shrunk *in relation to* the population. And that number, really, is just the unemployment rate – which as has been pointed out, is not that hot in Texas.

    Here’s another graph that shows part of the picture: how does Texas keep its employment up — to the extent that it does? The right way: by ensuring that public sector employment grows with population, rather than cutting public sector jobs like the GOP claims we should do: http://thinkprogress.org/yglesias/2011/08/16/296986/socialism-texas-style/

  108. […] situation against the population as it stood at the beginning of the recession.Source: http://www.politicalmathblog.com…I specifically recommend reading the entire last section of the above link's post.On the other […]

  109. Michael K says:

    The facts merely say that the Texas has the largest increase in population and the largest increase in employed population.

    Not sure why anyone thinks this discredits Paul Krugman’s column. An apt point that Krugman makes is that Texas has a very LOW COST OF LIVING especially so for a warm weather state. It’s not surprising that people forced out of their homes in pricier markets would migrate to Texas.

    Texas also has half the rate of underwater mortgages as the national average (12% vs. 24%) This may have something to do with the fact that it has unusually strong predatory lending laws, which is something Krugman points out as well, and which has nothing to do with Perry or Republican policies.

    [source links redacted because they apparently trip the spam detector]

  110. John says:

    Well, lets start with with the first one:

    47th in SAT scores.

    College bound students are required to take this test, however, its not used for admission selection for most because of the top 10% rule (10% of each high school grads get admitted into college). So its not a make or break for students here, they will be admitted regardless of SAT results.

    For most of these could you maybe find numbers that have removed the large illegal alien population, why would you expect them to a high school diploma, not live in poverty, have a low income, not have their immunizations (Although Mexico has universal health care strangely enough), health insurance.

    3rd in malnourishment/7th in obesity?? Come ON! Cant you see how freaken bias this report is?

  111. buddy larsen says:

    Boyd is right –the question has moved beyond the fiscal –the question is, what does the fiscal reality have to do with DC spending our new tax money? Seems a simple question, and it is, but lordy mercy it cost a-plenty and repeats a-many to learn to ask it.

    John, great work, good on ya.

    Jim, if you’re not a Mad Ave copywriter, you should be. The boilerplate is high quality and nearly indistinguishable from information.

    Dmitry, you have the same given name and professional field as my new son-in-law. Are you in fact he, or him, and if so, how’s the weather way up there, and please say hi to Sarah for me!

  112. steven says:

    I live in Midland and actual for employment is 3.5 check it Your self I think the war cry will be anyone but Obama the same dems on Bush I’ve always done well job wise when Repubs were leading just the facts

  113. John says:

    Dan, if this was true:
    “More people live there, so more people work there.”

    Then New York and California would not have any economic issues. You seems to be conflating cause and effect. People don’t move some where and magically jobs appear. But I would like to see per-capita public sector employment of other states become similar to Texas. Which interestingly enough was the first comment made in the comments section of the link you provided.

  114. steven says:

    most jobs in Midland or well paying oil related the problem is Skilled trades is dieing no one likes to get dirty any more well except me lol as machine trades down here i get paid as well as union azzwipes no complaints

  115. steven says:

    also I’m a former Yankee from upstate N.Y. I’ve seen what Representation has done There we made everything at one time in N.Y. from TV radio Car parts etc Thanks to unions enviro Nazis thats all gone and not coming back

  116. Jim (pthread) says:

    Deoxy: I think your examples confuses an important point, it’s still possible to get a job in a state with negative overall job growth, and in fact your chances can be better than in a state with positive job growth. Perhaps I haven’t worked hard enough to explain this, sorry about that. Here goes:

    In state X, there are 1,000 people unemployed already looking for a job out of a population of 10,000. Net job growth that month is positive, with 500 people losing their jobs and 600 gaining new jobs. That’s a net growth of 100 jobs. You have 500 people plus the original 1,000 looking for jobs, so 1,500 applicants for 600 jobs. That’s 2.5 applicants per job.

    In state Y, there are 500 people unemployed already looking for a job out of a population of 10,000. Net job growth that month is negative, with 600 people losing jobs and 500 people gaining new jobs (the reverse of State X). Despite this, we have have 1,100 people applying for 500 jobs. Here we have 2.2 applicants per job.

    Thus we’ve seen an example of a state with negative job growth where your chance of getting a job is better than one with positive job growth.

    I’m not claiming that’s what is going on here, just pointing out that it’s not a given that raw positive growth numbers are the right metric to use to judge whether a state’s job growth should be deemed a “miracle”. We’ve been offered a view here that seems to accept it as a given.

    Do you see what I’m saying?

  117. […] put it in italics. Everything else, I can and will back up with facts. UPDATE: Matthias Shapiro at Political Math digs into the raw numbers and finds unsurprisingly that #6, #8, #11 and #13 are completely deceptive […]

  118. Michael K says:

    Then New York and California would not have any economic issues.

    Maybe California, but what economic issues does New York (or that liberal bastion, Massachusetts) have?

    Unemployment (June 2011)
    Massachusetts 7.6%
    New York 8.0%
    Texas 8.2%
    California 11.8%


  119. Dave says:

    If you libs think Texas is so bad, please, please, please stop moving here! And keep your monolithic, DC-centric, over-burdensome regulatory regimes in your shrinking blue states.

  120. Citizen KH says:

    Until May of this year, I made lots of disparaging remarks to friends from TX whenever Perry’s name came up as a possible candidate. Then I had the opportunity to look at a potential business deal and to seek some investment capital from friends in S. TX. I can tell you that you have not seen anything yet regarding the TX economy. $20 per hour required for general labor when 5 years ago $15/hr in TX or LA would have been big bucks. Then the deal itself which at 183% ROI during the STARTUP year was not enough profit to get these guys interested at all. 183% ROI????? Two years ago, these same guys were close to putting up twice the money for another deal with 25% ROI annually for 5 years.

  121. Don says:

    There are more jobs in Texas than available workers. I’m in the construction business in West Texas and cannot find enough qualified workers for my needs. The 8.2% unemployment is misleading because the majority can’t pass a drug test or refuse to work at all. Why work, when Uncle Sam pays you not to.

  122. John says:

    For New York the obvious answer is lower labor force participation rate:

    For Massachusetts, it appears that people are leaving faster than the jobs are. Given their median income is high, it would allow them to be mobile in that regard:

  123. Jeff says:

    thanks for this, it is getting so rare so to someone one do a bit of homework. Your conclusions are interesting and your commentary is articulate and cogent, again thanks

  124. […] from the transcript text. Watch interview video below.For more on the 2012 election, see also:Rick Perry and Texas Job NumbersObama clashes with Tea Party memberRe: Rick Perry’s Serious Unforced ErrorKarl Rove Piles On Rick […]

  125. […] what you’ve heard from liberal pundits, Texas really is leading the nation in job growth, according to the Political math blog As you can see, Texas isn’t just the fastest […]

  126. […] with his record on jobs. (Speaking of which, if you follow only one link on the site today, let it be this one.) If anything, the occasional over-the-top allusion to stringing up Ben Bernanke will only further […]

  127. Michael Mueller says:

    I found a link to this on twitter. Fascinating stuff. One thing that leaps out at me is that we do not have a graph or series of graphs on the demographics of those who are moving to TX. I am postulating that perhaps what we are seeing is a large influx of retired folks moving into TX, perhaps not taking jobs, but given age requirements actually driving a jump in some jobs in the medical care or nursing fields. It would be interesting to see graphs on the job growth by industry as well here. I am not saying this is an explanation, just a thought on what could be a major part of the engine driving this growth. It may be useful to compare against other retirement destination states as well. Perhaps the key is TX, given its size is still inexpensive vs FL and other states and the migration of retirees to the sun belt is major factor here. Just a thought.

  128. […] Rick Perry And Texas Job Numbers « Political Math. […]

  129. Bob says:


    When comparing your analysis to the author of this article I can’t help but notice he explains the data with a point/counterpoint perspective, something you conveniently fail to provide. Substance and depth compared to cherry-picked figures with no basis for the reasons behind the numbers. Typical of the liberal mind; I’m correct, so you don’t merit a veiwpoint.

  130. steven says:

    look at forbes we’re getting a 1000 plus a day from other states migration map

  131. Don Grimes says:

    According to the BLS Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages, the average annual wage in 2010 (preliminary), for all workers and for private sector workers, was higher in Texas than it was in the U.S. overall. With respect to all workers the average wages were Texas: $46,956; U.S.: $46,742. For the private sector only the average wages were Texas: $47,615; U.S.; $46,451. Note that the gap is wider for private sector workers because Texas has relatively few federal government workers who tend to bring up the U.S. average wage for the all worker calculation, and because state and local government workers in Texas are paid less than they are in the U.S. overall.

  132. […] disappointment, I must say Matthias Shapiro, the owner of the blog Political Math, did a GREAT JOB analyzing the numbers from some awesome sources. I highly suggest reading his post! It is a little lengthy and wonky, but it cuts through the […]

  133. Jim says:

    In May 2010, I was traveling from Dallas to El Paso and decided to stop at a Motel 6 in Van Horn, TX. A couple U-haul trucks with trailers were parked out front and inside at the counter were 4 young couples in their early 30’s negotiating with the counter for two rooms with temporary beds for 8 adults and 5 children. One young man ran his fingers through his hair and mentioned they had been on the road for 17 hours.
    I asked, where are you from? He said Seattle. I asked where are you going? He said Houston. I said why are you going to Houston and all the adults pointed to one person and said simultaneously “Because HE got a job.” 13 people moving to Texas because one got a job. Gave me something to think about on the rest of my trip.

  134. thebuckstopshere says:

    having been to Midland many times I can relate to what Steven is saying! like a whole different world…….in my state most businesses are NOT even taking applications…….Gov Perry apparently is doing much right, unlike most of the rest of the Nation. GOD BLESS TEXAS & GOV PERRY!

  135. Bob says:

    You couldn’t pay me enough to move to Texas. All the flaky lemmings from the sun belt states can have it.

  136. steven says:

    Good Bob Stay away I got no problem with That the lefties tend to try to bring There B/S with them to Austin Not working to well for Them there don’t bring your liberal Shit won’t be know Shit cause I can tell you we don’t put up with it No pc ever come from me I did mention I was born and raised in Up State N.Y. also I respect southern opinion

  137. Jim says:

    As a small business owner in Texas who has been making payroll every 2 weeks since 1986, I have my own perspective. It’s easy to overlook a few salient points.

    During the lame duck period when Bush announced his run from president and Perry was going to be governor, the Democratic controlled legislature deliberately passed bills that overspent the state budget. Democratic insiders announced this as a deliberate move to force Perry to raise taxes so they could go to the people and claim that Governor Perry raised your taxes.

    When Perry took office, he worked with most every agency in the state and got them to reduce their budgets. He also vetoed numerous appropriations passed by the Democrat controlled legislature. The next two years he did it again.

    I firmly believe this frugality is one reason Texas was able to weather the tough times that caused problems for other states.

    As the Texas legislature passes budgets for 2 years at a time, naysayers were pronouncing a huge budget shortfall for Texas due to reduced tax revenue from the down economy. Numbers as high as 26 billion were thrown around by the negative people. Perry was able to work with departments within Texas to resolve the budget shortfall.

    One thing I can say about Rick Perry is he has the ability to say NO. When the intellectuals elitists and media editorialsist are claiming he doesn’t care about your children or your grandparents, he still has the cojones to say NO.

    Perry understands the affect the huge rise in regulatory agencies with their own police forces is having on the private sector. My feeling is he has represented the citizens of Texas in their long term best interest.

    Even the Trans Texas Corridor which opponents shot down was a long range forward thinking attempt to improve the economy of Texas and surrounding states. The huge amount of goods that bypass California ports by shipping into Mexico and then transporting by rail to inland ports in Kansas City and St. Louis could be coming through Texas ports. And, a good highway to the coast would benefit fly-over country states when they secede from the left and right coast as the United States becomes less united.

    There is no comparison between the Ivy League educated Bush and the A&M yell leader Perry. Perry is connected to the little guy.

  138. […] Job growth has been halted since Obamacare passed, except, apparently, in red states who have initiated pro-jobs reforms (the numbers from TX are amazing), shrinking the size of government and limiting Union power.  […]

  139. steven says:

    I might as well add things i do miss about NY is the forests the lakes [fresh seafood] things I don’t miss are panhandlers Attitudes freepers pinkos i could go on so called educated Asses

  140. steven says:

    I also agree with you Buckstopshere and thanks for your support just think what might have happened if Ross Perot got the job way back when God Bless each and everyone of Us FREEDOM LOVERS

  141. thebuckstopshere says:

    Steven, anytime brother, anytime! & I will put myself out on a limb, the country apparently was not ready for the first historic first, so HELL TO THE NO regarding estrogen & PMS……….time for a MAN with BALLS that won’t take time to scratch ’em, but rather digs in BY PUTTING AMERICA FIRST & PUTTING IT’S CITIZENS TO WORK……….

  142. thebuckstopshere says:

    Steven, you can bet all that is holy, if Perot had gotten the office, NAFTA/GATT may have been staved off PERMANANTLY………………..

  143. steven says:

    The Man We have in there Now Hates Texas hence Hammer us with the epa Here in Midland West Tx they tried with a 3 inch lizard didn’t work we’ve got tons of them friendly lil critters too but they got more smarts the any Demoncrate I stated and stand by it under Republicans leadership I’ve always had a good paying Job When Regan was building up our Military might I could have worked around the clock sometimes I did Today as everyday I thank Our Lord above for have The Good skills that does keep me gainfully Employed The only bill I have is my Mortgage and standard bills that go with Long live The proud Folks of Texas

  144. steven says:

    I Agree Buck As i did Vote For him when he ran met him in person Too! scary smart If You haven’t read his Books Buck do so that was part of blue print to living my life and Great mentors are hard to come now a days and Had a few

  145. steven says:

    Any one with Brain knows Gov’t can only grow Gov’t as far Jobs go Thats private biz savvy sector It was funny Buck the other day i converted a greeny about Green energy Yes I’m in oil and Gas Green energy is a good concept but not far down the road with out the help of oil and Gas natural Gas is clean if You add hydrogen boost its even cleaner I also make Hydrogen cells on the side if Gov’t would just get of the way what a world we could have Oh and History of Now only proves Joe McCarthy was right They don’t even hide anymore !!!

  146. dale @ kingwood tx says:

    Dissect them as you like, the proof is in the pudding. Everyone who wants a job in Texas has one, and it had nothing to do with government intervention. It has to do with a lost common sense, a non-interventionist mentality, and allowing people to keep the money they earn. Government cannot create jobs without destroying 20 in the process. Keep tinkering Obama, see how much we can tear down. It reminds me of an old quote: “Perhaps one of the most important accomplishments of my administration has been minding my own business.”
    -Calvin Coolidge

  147. Lise Peterson says:

    Thank you for setting the bar so high in your reporting on the employment numbers in Texas. May your colleagues across the country try to leap over it in 2012. I’m no more likely to vote for Perry as a result of it, so why be afraid of the facts?

    It reminded me of the favorite saying of one of my teachers: “In God we trust, everyone else bring data.”

  148. Trevor Adams says:

    Two things often overlooked when discussing social and economic statistics in Texas are, firstly, it’s a majority-minority state, and secondly, it’s the second youngest state in the nation by median age. Considering the moderately increased likelihood for minorities to earn minimum wage and the extremely disproportionate likelihood for younger people to earn minimum wage, Texas is in fact well above the national average. Even still, it’s misleading to claim that Texas has the second-most workers working at the federal minimum wage, because other states have statewide minimum wages (Texas does not) that drastically reduce the percentage of their population making the federal minimum wage, even if they’re only making $0.10 more an hour. This tends to have little effect on median income.

    Likewise, statistics such as SAT scores when broken down by the students’ ethnicities prove to be well above the national average despite being overall below states like Wisconsin with more homogeneous populations. See: http://iowahawk.typepad.com/iowahawk/2011/03/longhorns-17-badgers-1.html

  149. Moderate Mom says:

    Dan, I have a lot of trouble believing that Texas ranks 47th in SAT scores, mostly because almost no one in Texas takes the SAT. State schools in Texas use the ACT for admission criteria, so students in Texas typically take the ACT.

    The SAT is the predominant test for the Northeast and the West Coast. The rest of the country goes with the ACT for the most part.

    Where does Texas fall in ACT rankings?

    While a finish in the top 10% of your class guarantees you admission to a state school in Texas, it does not necessarily guarantee you admission to the state school of your choice. My niece, with a 3.95 GPA, an IB diploma and one place removed from being in the top 10% of a senior class of over one thousand, was turned down at the University of Texas at Austin. Her Hispanic heritage didn’t even help, much to her mother’s consternation. Instead, she wound up at UT Arlington, where they are, for all practical purposes, paying her to attend, given the amount of scholarship money they threw her way.

    There is a reason it is so hard to get into UT Austin, a school with tens of thousands of students. There are a lot of very smart kids in Texas.

  150. As a resident of South Texas I have seen huge numbers of new people in the community. Many of them are illegals, but many are also Mexican citizens fleeing their drug torn communities. Perry has done nothing to help Texas out with the illegal immigration problem. Nor has he bothered to check out the extreme amount of Medicare and Medicaid fraud at the newest biggest hospital in the Rio Grande Valley and in the countless Rehabilitation or Home Healthcare Services that are costing the U.S. tax payers so very much. Jobs are being lost in Texas, too. We are finally catching up to the rest of the nation. Perry will have to do some real turn arounds to convince me he is our best candidate against evil Obama and his Socialist backers.

  151. You can’t say that if you take out energy jobs the employment would still be growing like weeds. The salary made from energy jobs feeds industries that provide services and products to those energy job employees.

  152. ezra abrams says:

    would you care to estimae a multiplier for the oil industry ?
    I have heard, anecodotally, from friends from texas, that those jobs pay very well, particularly in regard to education level.
    so maybe there is a multiplier to ?
    You don’t mention lack of regulation.
    If in WI or NY or CA, you are required to get a license for a hazardous chemical ( I work in the biotech biz, and costs can be significant) and you don’t in TX, it is just like biz moving to china cause they don’t have those pesky osha/epa things goin on

    ditto with child health insurance; I’m sure you have seen the numerous blog posts that tx is tops,or near tops in this catagory (don’tknow if that includes illegals…)
    sure, if the cost of biz is lower, jobs will move there; not a great strategy, but what the heck..

    I don’t want to diss all the good and hard work you did, but i find your graph showing a 6% increase in labour force, to use a technical term, ***ing unbelievalbe..

    another thing is tha perhaps TX avoided what looks like outlandish retirement bennies; without getting into a long protracted arguments, at least some fraction of retirement in NE states are wrong (2 examples: today, in Boston, a jury AQUITTED a fireman who had retired on disability, to pained by his back to even shuffle paper; the fireman then entered competitive body building contests; the LIRR (commuter rail in NY) is the most dangerous place to work in america: some 90% of employees retire early on medical disability; these may be a small % of total govt retirement bennies, but they add up
    which sort of gets to my next point, all these numbers, without some sort of idea as to why, are sort of unsatisfactory…

  153. ezra abrams says:

    would you care to estimae a multiplier for the oil industry ?
    I have heard, anecodotally, from friends from texas, that those jobs pay very well, particularly in regard to education level.
    so maybe there is a multiplier to ?
    You don’t mention lack of regulation.
    If in WI or NY or CA, you are required to get a license for a hazardous chemical ( I work in the biotech biz, and costs can be significant) and you don’t in TX, it is just like biz moving to china cause they don’t have those pesky osha/epa things goin on

    ditto with child health insurance; I’m sure you have seen the numerous blog posts that tx is tops,or near tops in this catagory (don’tknow if that includes illegals…)
    sure, if the cost of biz is lower, jobs will move there; not a great strategy, but what the heck..

    I don’t want to diss all the good and hard work you did, but i find your graph showing a 6% increase in labour force, to use a technical term, ***ing unbelievalbe..

    another thing is that perhaps TX avoided what looks like outlandish retirement bennies; without getting into a long protracted arguments, at least some fraction of retirement in NE states are wrong (2 examples: today, in Boston, a jury AQUITTED a fireman who had retired on disability, to pained by his back to even shuffle paper; the fireman then entered competitive body building contests; the LIRR (commuter rail in NY) is the most dangerous place to work in america: some 90% of employees retire early on medical disability; these may be a small % of total govt retirement bennies, but they add up
    which sort of gets to my next point, all these numbers, without some sort of idea as to why, are sort of unsatisfactory…

  154. CJB says:

    Listen Y’all. This is a most interesting bit of research. I will definitely be keeping it on hand to use with folks who just listen to all the blah blah pundits. I have lived in Texas most of my life. Born here. Mother born here. As a matter of fact, this family has been here for 6 generations. Went to California to get my degree. Didn’t hurt me none. Life has always been good here. Plenty to do. Plenty of money. A place on earth that resonates with good will. All Y’all Yankees with a prune face…just stay right where you are and keep on believing the lies.

  155. Dick Szymanski says:

    I do not believe that Government or it’s policies policies can create private sector jobs. Only free-markets do that. At best, “well-intentioned” policies alter what jobs are filled. They push the air around in the balloon that is the economy, or throw the seed to a differnt flock of birds. However, these policies with other intentions (i.e. greening the environment, distributing the wealth, or giving everyone “free” health care) have a decidedly negative impact on the work of the free-market players who do create jobs. When employers are driven away, out of markets they could be in or even states or countries, jobs go with them.

  156. […] analysis by the blog Political Math shows Texas has had some of the most robust economic growth — […]

  157. William Laudermilk says:

    Associatedcontent.com under Richest and Poorest States ranks the states from richest to poorest based on cost-of-living-adjusted median household income.

    Some partial results:

    Texas 54,836
    California 46,418
    New York 43,769

    Texas ranks 24 places ahead of California and 28 places ahead of New York and has a typical household yearly purchasing power $8,418 ahead of California.

    What economic statistic is even close to being as important as that?.

    It’s also important to point out that it’s the Liberal demographic that causes the great majority of crime, poverty, and low test scores.

    Texas, California, and New York all have a large bottom end population, but Texas’ upper 50% is much more Conservative which is a prime reason for their much greater affluence.

  158. […] analysis by the blog Political Math shows Texas has had some of the most robust economic growth — relative […]

  159. Jason says:

    Just a point for those curious about the spikes in the 4th graph (public sector jobs), besides the 2010 census, Austin TX is also where most of the IRS data entry happens, so there’s a huge influx of mid-range workers every April 15th, which you can see in the data for Federal Employees. That soaks up a lot of college kids from University of Texas, but even more housewives and underemployed that enter then exit the labor market for a few months each year. Great article, by the way.

  160. […] a blog post defending job growth in Texas. Some interesting graphs and explanations. And here’s a story about the NBCs […]

  161. […] a blog post defending job growth in Texas. Some interesting graphs and explanations. And here’s a story about the NBCs […]

  162. Flee says:

    Graph 5 gives a nice portrayal of the #2 position for wage growth: DC. Nice to know they are increasing pay in DC better than anywhere but Wyoming. At least WY is likely due to oil and gas services. DC is getting wealthy taking from us and giving to them.

  163. […] And a great place to start is right here in this remarkably researched and written piece at Political Math, where he concludes: My point is to show that most of the “excuses” you will hear about […]

  164. buddy larsen says:

    all the states used to have the same dynamic optimism that is being discussed on this thread. Nowadays, say about five of them retain it. What happened to the other 45 is 45 different stories –but each one is knowable. Each story has a telling time when something or other went hinky and the state did not in the usual cyclical way bounce back.

    Each of the 45 stories will be a ‘people story’ because all stories are people stories. Since it was people then, who caused the distress evident everywhere including here on this thread, then it is people who can return the 45 stories back to fine uplifting literature and away from whatever it is or is becoming now.

    It seems clear that step 1 is in honestly identifying in your own mind and heart what went wrong –and then you’ll know the whos and the whitcheewhys to never listen to nor follow ever again.

  165. ala says:

    perry made TX better for business so jobs moved to TX. that doesn’t scale for whole nation. need to create not import jobs.

  166. JBD says:

    There is another consideration to modify your graph for the low paying section. The Texan wages can purchase a whole lot more living in Texas than in California where the same minimum wage employee enjoys only about 60% of the Texan’s lifestyle.


  167. […] analysis by the blog Political Math shows Texas has had some of the most robust economic growth — relative […]

  168. […] addition to what Bruce wrote below, I’d like to point you to Political Math’s analysis of Texas’ job performance. In this analysis, he takes the criticisms we’ve been hearing […]

  169. […] hatchet job, but Meyerson is wrong and dishonest. The Political Math Blog tears Meyerson and Krugman a new asshole. Here are some of the highlights: We can see that Texas has grown the fastest, having […]

  170. Mike says:

    You asked what about the difference between Obama’s record on jobs and Perry’s. One thing that’s not always obvious to people outside of Texas is that under our Reconstruction-era state constitution, the Governor is either the fifth or sixth most powerful elected position in the state. Perry has some advantages over other Texas governors, including his extremely long tenure and the inability of Democrats to win any state-wide office recently. That sorta-kinda makes him on the team that can claim responsibility for the current results, but it’s hardly a guarantee.

  171. Orange juice says:

    Saudi Arabia has 21% of the workforce in the Energy industry. So oil has nothing to do with the wealth of the Saudis?

    You forgot indirect job creation from the energy sector.

  172. bottomofthe9th says:

    It’s not just the indirect job creation from the energy sector, but also all the energy jobs that don’t roll up in any of the categories above. All of the energy consultants, bankers, accountants, etc. would fall under “business and professional services,” but no question those are energy jobs.

    And that’s the difference in between Texas and other nearby (much poorer) energy-producing states (Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico)–Texas is the intellectual capital of the energy industry, not just where it is produced.

  173. Pragmatist says:

    Do you prefer Obama vs. Rick Perry?

  174. Marcus Webb says:

    Thanks for the perspective, politicalmathblog.com!

    One more stat: the Houston Chronicle recently reported that 70% of the 1.4 million illegal immigrants in Texas are on welfare. Obviously this drives up the state’s unemployment rate and its rate of uninsured citizens.

  175. David Keddie says:

    Thank you for your work, it’s very helpful to the discussion.

  176. taxedToDeath says:

    Great Analysis! Thanks for the work you put into this!

  177. Eric P says:

    Very intriguing analysis. In this issue of bloggingheads:


    two Texas based journalists make the claim that Perry can be credited largely with “stealing” jobs from other states (at work so I can’t find the location). Do you know of any way to evaluate this claim with data?

  178. Hugh says:

    Thank you for an informed, well-researched and well-reasoned article. I wish everything I read in the blogosphere was of this quality.

  179. PeteyKay says:

    Great piece. Thanks for sharing.

  180. Tom says:

    Mr. Perry has done some good things in Texas, and he has the right ideas with reducing regulations and reducing government spending. He’s created an environment where business can, well, do business. So I think Governor Perry should be congratulated. However, I read yesterday morning how he has raised $150 million in his political career from only 37 donors, and that there is possibly a link between that and contracts, etc. You think there is a payoff there? This is the kind of thing I’ve grown sick of seeing in Washington and, two months ago, launched my own candidacy for president. I’m just a regular citizen who’s fed up. I’m an unknown, but that is changing–the campaign site passed 130,000 hits yesterday. I’ve written on why we need to eliminate the deficit and how to do it, how to get the country going again economically and a host of other issues facing America. The thing which separates me from the other candidates is that I am not owned by the “moneymen.” I’m not beholden to anyone. At any rate, check it out, and if you like what you see, spread the word. http://www.gradyforpresident.com.

  181. Great analysis! Great blog! Speaking as a fello math, stats & Excel “geek,” political junkie and proud Texan… Thank you!

  182. Maria says:

    Policy in Texas is the business of the Legislature, not the governor. The governorship is practically a ceremonial job. And you may not like Perry for president but you did a really disingenuous job of softpedaling the real cause of the so-called Texas Miracle: energy prices. You can’t just say, “oil boom = jobs creation” because that isn’t the point. The point is the flood of money into the state owing to insane energy prices.

  183. Troy Duran says:

    Thanks for this- I’m not a Perry fan either, but you’re right- it’s best to debate in the light of day :)

  184. Gil Garza says:

    I think your share to FB button is broken. I keep pushing it so that I can share your awesomeness with thousands of my friends but it crashes my browser. What gives?


  185. Rockyspoon says:

    Sorry, Maria–the jobs boom in Texas was going on long before energy prices spiked. Besides, what has Obama done to oil drilling and production out of the Gulf? Pretty sad to emphasize one point and completely ignore the other–you must be a KoolAid drinking Liberal.

  186. Jason Bennett says:

    Toward the end, you wrote, “But the fact that unemployment in the United States is fluid means that the unemployed flock to a place where there are jobs, which inflates its unemployment rate (at least in the short term).” This is not entirely true. People flock to where they believe that they can find a job. You admit as much further up with “This is speculative, but it *seems* that people are moving to Texas looking for jobs rather than moving to Texas for a job they already have lined up.” A meaningful analysis will have to include a perceptions survey in addition to the above data.

    Texas has worked very hard to give itself an image of being pro-business and therefore by implication of being pro-jobs creation. That is what people believe because that’s what they’ve been told. While almost anyone could find the information you post here, very few have the inclination or time or ability to analyze it in any meaningful manner.

    As for the data itself, there are long-term structural advantages from which Texas benefits which no one, Perry or otherwise, could possibly control, not least of which is ready access to oil fields, cheap labor, and physical location. A few of these structural advantages are outlined here: http://blog.chron.com/txpotomac/2011/07/ten-reasons-why-the-texas-economy-is-growing-that-have-nothing-to-do-with-rick-perry/

    So, yes, Texas is doing well, and as a Texan, I’m quite happy about that fact. But, Perry’s policies, as such, have largely been to continue or expand previously existing ones in terms of state-business relations. So, in that sense, he does indeed have something to do with jobs in our state but not in the way most people think. That is, continuing ideas not his own. In fact, many of the policies and business relationships have been in place for decades. A few are old enough to be entrenched in our state constitution. Because of the policies established before he was even born, Perry merely reaps the benefit of the status quo.

    Obama, by contrast, wanted to change the fundamental nature of the government-business relationship and businessmen are fighting it as is only right from their point of view. And when the two are fighting, jobs will be compromised in the process.

    So, Perry’s jobs genius, if it is such, is that he didn’t really do all that much beyond continuing what his predecessors started.

  187. charlie tucker says:

    Having done all this research, could you easily give a run-down of exactly where the jobs have been created, other than the energy sector? Would really be helpful to have the full picture.


  188. Sherlock says:

    Excellent! Thank You for the well researched information. This should be placed in every mailbox in America.

  189. Mmmmm says:

    Impressive research! Here is an anecdote:
    I close friend of mine here in NJ had an advanced degree but no luck finding a job last year. He has a job now, a nice one, pays real well. Where? In Texas. And you can bet your bottom dollar (if you have any left, after paying real estate tax here…) there are some people with advanced degrees in NJ who are doing the moral equivalent of flipping burgers.

    Of course, Gov. Christie is as every bit as conservative as Gov. Perry, but NJ isn’t a job machine, because of course developing a pro-business environment conducive to job creation takes a lot of long term effort, over the course of years.

    And this really is the big problem with the Obama administration. There is no magic formula for short or even medium term job creation. But at least it’s worth pursuing policies that are conducive to private sector economic activity. However, the Obama administration has been remarkably hostile, both in tone and substance, to the business community in general. At least that’s the business community’s perception, but when it comes to encouraging investment and job creation, perception counts, for a lot.

  190. […] But the numbers tell a very different story. […]

  191. […] But the numbers tell a very different story. […]

  192. Knute says:

    It’s hard to tell who is more hostile toward whom, Obama to the business community or the business community to Obama. The struggles of middle class Americans (housing, health care, education, et al), the explosion of Financial Speculation as America’s chief economic “product”, and the rising gap between rich and poor, all make for a pretty clear mandate from Obama’s voters to which he’s adhered, but with limited success and some would argue his tactics have been more centrist than left-leaning. Of course the far Right would dispute this, so he’s cursed from both sides.

    If business “likes” the incumbent, they tend to be more relaxed and open for growth. So does that mean any GOP president or governor will have this advantage? Can the DEMs serve their popular base and still court business? Given the wildly polarized climate we live in, that seems nearly impossible.

  193. Sabrina Haun says:

    To the author, This is great!!

    To Marcus… I know this isn’t your quote, but seriously, how on EARTH can illegal immigrants be on welfare? I’m not calling you or anyone at the HC a liar, I’m just saying that if it’s true what the HELL are we doing cutting defense spending, when we can stop supporting ILLEGAL activity (ie, being here ILLEGALLY). I can’t help but wonder.. if we stopped carrying their (illegal immigrants) cozy asses, what kind of $$ this country would be saving.

    If ILLEGAL ‘workers’ can get on welfare, it must be DAMMED easy for legal ‘workers” to get the same entitlement benefits.

  194. J. Eisenstat says:

    This is a really informative collection and analysis of the data. When you say that “Increases in jobs in the energy sector (or closely related to it) account for about 25% of the job increases in the last year” are you accounting for the job multiplier effect for each energy industry job and, if so, in what way did you factor this in? Estimates vary wildly, but a 2009 PwC report indicates each energy sector job supports over 3 other jobs. There seems to be a slightly lagging yet strong correlation between the price of crude and the Texas employment numbers (http://quotes.post1.org/historical-crude-oil-price-chart/). Texas is also an historically major center for the defense industry, which has similarly been outperforming the broader economy and likely has a high job multiplier effect.

  195. […] Matthias Shapiro: “Note: If you are going to comment and you want to introduce some new objection to the Texas […]

  196. Tammy Deci says:

    The web is already making it hard to access this site. I have already downloaded it all to my hard drive into a Word Document, just in case, it is removed all together.

    Another major news source (the Washpost I think) has already mentioned your mathematical analysis on the Texas Jobs as a tool that will be very difficult to argue against; the spinners and twisters in the (Obama adoring and Liberal) media are going to have a hard time swalling these numbers.

    Please take care…

  197. Reed says:

    The claim that “70% of illegal immigrants are on welfare” is misleading.
    Here’s that actual Houston Chronicle article:

    The report includes just about any government program as “welfare.” Including school lunches. It also shows that, contrary to popular opinion, immigrants families are more likely than others to have somebody working. It’s just that they are often stuck in low wage jobs and therefore their kids qualify for extra help. But they are working and productive.

    Furthermore, the group that wrote that study, CIS, is hardly unbiased or a respected research organization among actual social scientists.

  198. Don says:

    Thank you for honest and frank numbers and cutting through the B***S*** of all the talking heads on TV. Fed jobs go a boost from bringing a US Army Division from Germany to Fort Bliss TX(El Paso). Hmmmm maybe if some smart candidate thought of it, bringing troops back from Korea and Germany could help two additional states and save department of Defense dollars

  199. J. Starks says:

    Great analysis. I’m not a Perry fan and never will be, but I love when someone takes a sharp pencil to generally accepted beliefs.

    I wonder, though, on a deeper level, if oil/gas boom jobs and high wages represent one part of the job growth while immigration pop grow/low wages represents another part, something of a bimodal distribution.

    If that were true (and if I care enough, I might actually come up with a way to analyze the problem), then one could make a case that the governor/legislature cannot affect gas/oil prices and have no impact on the creation of higher wage jobs, while the low investment, low regulatory environment they do impact creates little more than low wage service jobs.

  200. Jerry says:

    Wow, excellent breakdown. That was indeed a lot of work. Living in Houston, TX, I can vouch for the fact that we are rather busy here. Thanks for the sound reasoning and thorough investigation of the facts.


  201. Ralph Woods says:

    I know of several people who have moved to Texas over the past 4 years leaving behind the hopeless situation they were in in other states. When I think about it, most were from what are commonly labeled “blue states”. I guess they were just escaping the blues.

  202. Al Hubbard says:

    Fantastic article! And graphs that are easy to decipher to boot. Too bad this can’t be made required reading for anyone writing about how Texas a) really isn’t creating jobs, or b) is creating only poor paying and/or no benefits jobs, or c) is “stealing” jobs from other states (well, DUH!! Competition, anyone?), or d) (list your own asanine reason here). Just goes to show how a business-friendly policy works for everyone.

  203. BenK says:

    “Yeah, I could get a job in Texas is I wanted to flip burgers!”

    Well, maybe that is the truth for those who render such comments (and even the grammatically correct equivalent).

  204. Shelley says:

    Sabrina: Illegal aliens ARE getting all sorts of welfare benefits, food stamps, free medical…the list goes on. I just heard some statistics of illegal immigration. There are 23.5 million illegals in this country today, 5.5 million illegal children in our public schools, since Jan 2006 $34.7 Billion has been wired to Mexico, $400 Billion has been given to illegals through social services, there are 779,488 fugitive illegals in this country and there are 14 million Americans out of work, yet 12.3 million illegals hold SKILLED jobs. We are being LIED to by our government and that is why so many people are against ILLEGAL immigration. While they talk of cutting social security, medicare and the military, the illegals are taking OUR money and jobs. WAKE UP AMERICA!

  205. Jack Wimsatt says:

    Facts will out…let’s hope that the voters get the straight scoop…and vote accordingly.

  206. Peter says:

    It’s fair to say that the MSM will attack any Republican candidate’s record by finding whatever data or information can paint them in a bad light. If Chris Christie were running it would be no different.

    That Obama had no record, indeed appeared to have spent his whole life trying to ensure that there was no trace of evidence indicating his true beliefs or guiding principles, was never a concern of the MSM. In fact, he regularly noted that people saw him as a blank slate on which they could project their own feelings about him–never offering, you know, to fill in the emptiness to give people a better picture of who he was and how he would govern, although for those of us who never drank the Kool-Aide it was pretty clear anyway.

    Perry may have had a lot or a little to do with the “Texas Miracle,” but anyone at the top in a state or nationally gets to take the credit and gets stuck with the blame for economic conditions if they are around long enough. It’s true that executive power in Texas is limited but the fact is that Perry didn’t screw things up and helped to support and carry on policies that also allowed Texas to be a jobs machine in the 1990s as well, creating more jobs than average even when the economy was booming and energy prices were low.

  207. […] The Sad Fact Behind Perry’s Texas Miracle – Harold Meyerson, Wash Post Data Prove Amazing Job Growth in Texas – Matthias Shapiro, Political Math What Happened to Tim Pawlenty? – Carl M. Cannon, […]

  208. […] For a more wide-ranging analysis, please check out this post at Political Math. […]

  209. Charlotte Doctor says:

    If we’re looking at comparative data, how about including data from health, education, public services, etc.

  210. Kyle Simpson says:

    This article certainly brings up some good points based on data. I’m curious how you would respond to the claims of this article:


    Which are, namely, that if you account for the rapid growth in labor force, the job-growth rate in Texas looks far less impressive.

    I feel like maybe you were addressing that in your article, but frankly I’m a little confused (partially by terminology, partially by not being an expert, or even considerably knowledgable, about this stuff). Can you clarify your position in regards to those claims of labor-force-growth-rate?

  211. Donner says:

    Almost all the negative articles regarding GOP candidates are being written about Perry. Why is that? Why has the left decided that HE is the candidate to go after. I did not see one negative article on Bachmann (who won the Iowa straw poll) or Romney, the presumed favorite, in the press lately. One political hack, who calls himself a “journalist”, claimed that Perry benefitted from FDR’s rural electricity program because the cotton farm he grew up on had electricity.

    Is that because no one can argue with the success of Texas economically? What other state is seeing 5,000 people a week move to Texas from other states, with it’s population increase of 5 million in ten years, provide jobs for the majority of those people. Yeah, I realize some are children, but those children have parents looking for jobs.

    A good economic indicator is U-Haul. And it is easy to do. Check the U-Haul rates from Houston to Los Angeles then from Los Angeles to Houston. If it costs more to rent a U-Haul going to Houston, that is an indicator of where the nation is moving. Or do it for any other city (Detroit to Dallas, New York to San Antonio, etc.)

  212. Bruce427 says:

    ** two Texas based journalists make the claim that Perry can be credited largely with “stealing” jobs from other states**

    The way he “stole” those jobs was to create a climate in which businesses could succeed — tort reform and low business taxes (unlike many other states that litigate and tax business to death). This is no big secret, Perry himself is proud of it and even talks about it in speeches. Liberal-run states could do the same (to keep the jobs), they just won’t.

  213. CWK says:

    Can you put a link on this page so I can share it on Facebook and Twitter?

  214. Mel says:

    Here is another interesting link pointing out that a lot of the jobs that have been created in Texas are in fact government jobs. So while Perry and many other Republicans may rail against “big government” they don’t seem to be doing much about it at home. If you were to remove the massive increase in government employment how would that effect your picture of Texas as a job creator?


  215. Stacy says:

    Thank you very much for an unbiased analysis of REAL data.

  216. drbuzzard says:

    Excellent piece of work. I greatly appreciate the goodly amount of work you put into this analysis.

  217. Greg says:

    I have one of the fastest growing small businesses in America. My secret is tied to one thing–presenting empirical data to my clients in a way that makes sense. By understanding the data, it is possible to recommend targeted solutions to achieve a measurable end result.

    I always said that if a similar methodology can be taken in creating national or local government policy, keeping the politics out of the process, America would regain its strength. It would also bridge the gap between partisan politics.

    Matthias blog is an example of taking the first step in cutting through the partisanship and evaluating arguments based on empirical data. My congratulations to Matthias.

    Matthias feel free to reach out to me. I can provide a window into what is actually happening inside the medical practitioners’ office based on the data.

  218. ta111 says:

    Great article with facts to support the Texas miracle. A friend of mine here in Ohio owns a professional job-placement firm which places high-end professionals. He told me recently that over 90% of all his job placements are in Texas. The contrast between Texas and the country as a whole couldn’t be more stark-that is why Perrry will crush Obama-capitalism beats socialism every time.

  219. […] me to conclude that he’s the man. What this is about is a recommendation to read a post at Political Math (ht. Marginal Revolution) which dissects the Texas job […]

  220. TRad says:

    A fantastic post, great analysis. Congrats.

  221. Thanks for sharing the great analysis. I want to highlight one aspect of the growth of “energy jobs” that you might have missed. People point the growth in energy jobs in Texas and assume that they occurred solely due to exogenous factors like increases in commodity price. This line of thinking ignores the impact of energy technical innovation that occurred in Texas. Shale gas and shale oil give the principal examples. Thousands of people are employed globally now because of innovations that George Mitchell and his company developed while experimenting in Texas. http://www.forbes.com/2009/07/16/george-mitchell-gas-business-energy-shale.html In fact, I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that North Dakota’s oil boom and jobs boom was born in Texas.

  222. I haven’t reviewed all the comments in this thread so maybe this point has already been raised and addressed.

    The unemployment rate that is broadly reported is only one measure of employment (U-3). That measure does not include persons who have stopped looking for work (discouraged workers) and those taking part-time work out of necessity rather than choice (underemployed workers).

    BLS does track unemployment measures that include discouraged and underemployed workers in a measure known as U-6. That measure by state is here:


    The current national U-6 unemployment measure is 16.3 percent, for Texas it is 14.3. Thus the argument that 8.2 is not exceptional seems to also hold for Texas on this broader measure.

    Unfortunately the measure for U-6 only goes back to 2003. But year by year 2003 – 2010, here is where Texas has ranked on this measure. Nothing exceptional here and it tracks with its U-3 numbers:

    2003 11.5 percent
    2004 10.6 percent
    2005 9.3 percent
    2006 8.6 percent
    2007 7.7 percent
    2008 9.1 percent
    2009 13.7 percent
    2010 14.4 percent

    One point you make is that Texas has grown in population since what you state is the beginning of the recession (2007).

    That may be the case (although it is difficult to access the degrees in your chart since the axis isn’t labeled), during that time, the population of unemployed and underutilized has nearly doubled in size both by the U-6 measure outlined (7.7 percent in 2007, 14.4 percent in 2010) above and the traditional unemployment measure (4.3 percent in 2007, 8.0 percent in 2010).

    More people may be coming to Texas (and/or reaching employment age) but that increase in labor force has only been 6 percent (if I am reading your chart correctly). They don’t appear to be getting employed any better than the folks in the labor force before the recession.

    Moreover, if we weight the Texas unemployment numbers to control for this increase in labor force, there isn’t a dramatic change in the numbers (7.55 unemployment U-3, 13.58 percent U-6).

    Overall, I don’t see any compelling evidence that the Texas recovery during the recession has been anything special; U3/U6 rates – 4.3/7.7 percent unemployment in 2007 versus 8.0/14.3 today. By contrast, North Dakota which has also seen unusual growth in its labor force is at 3.8/7.2 percent now and was at 3.2/5.8 percent in 2007.

    Again, the data referenced in this comment that was not from the post above may be found here:


  223. SweetLiberty says:

    What many fail to recognize in not giving credit to Rick Perry for Texas jobs growth is that sometimes the best politician is the one who doesn’t interfere! He didn’t have to “do anything” other than keep out of the way of business which develops naturally given the right conditions. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That laissez faire philosophy alone would put Perry in the upper echelon of politicians in my book.

    Great data, great analysis, and even if Perry doesn’t have an original idea in his head, if he uses the political climate of Texas as a model for which to base the entire nation, things will improve dramatically over Obama’s passion for creative manipulation.

  224. crazyksn says:

    Wondering how the stimulus factors into this? Since that’s not really Perry’s doing… It looks like that has created around 45-53,000 jobs in Texas the last two years (looking at the recovery.gov Data Explorer). Additionally, the stimulus pretty much single-handedly balanced Texas’ budget last year (http://money.cnn.com/2011/01/23/news/economy/texas_perry_budget_stimulus/index.htm). How many jobs would have been lost had that money not been available?

    Though data displays trends, and disproves some arguements, it doesn’t seem to prove or even attempt a link to Perry’s performance. Causality seems like a key issue here. For the past 40 years, Texas has outpaced the nation by about 1% growth, on average–is there any evidence that Perry has actually increased that number in his 10 years in office?

    Additionally, while the energy industry may not completely account for the growth, the growth of the energy industry may influence other industries indirectly. Service industries and real estate should be affect by the growth too, right?

    Also, just that fact that people are moving to Texas should have some effect on growth. Whether they are employed or not, they still buy gas, groceries, pay a mortgage/rent, shop, dine out, etc. Immigrants, legal and not, do the same with Texas being a logical first stop/settling place for those coming from Mexico. How do you measure their contribution to the economy of Texas as a whole? Last, what effect has SB1070 had?

  225. JM says:

    Good analysis.

    As this guy wants to argue (along with Roubini): it’s all Bush’s fault. Roubini is a hack.


  226. bob says:

    This is awful. You didn’t correct for population growth. You fail both demography 101 and macro econ 101.

  227. JM says:

    On the counterargument side, it is widely acknowledged that TX governorship is at minimum less powerful than most. And some argue that it is generally neutered.

    But I’m not an expert on TX political science. No doubt TX is doing fantastically well on the job creation front.

  228. Simon says:

    Thanks for the great work. Very useful information!

  229. Excellent work. I learned quite a bit from this an I appreciate you digging through the data and making it into something that the average person can digest and learn from.

  230. Ty says:

    Excellent analysis. As a Texan and a Democrat I’m pleased to see that my state is doing well. I question somewhat the minimization of the impact of the oil & gas business on jobs, because Houston particularly is a headquarters town for worldwide oil businesses, so the strong oil pricing all over the world contributes to jobs in Houston. Texas is a strong exporter at present, and that is also a largely attributable to the oil & gas business.

    The question of Rick Perry’s responsibility for this, however, is questionable. In my opinion there are several factors related to migration that have driven the increase of population and jobs. One is the absence of a state income tax. This not specifically a Perry policy, but is a sacred cow that has been around as long as I have been alive and I’m in my late ’50s. I think when businesses, especially large ones decide to relocate or expand, this factor is particularly important to the senior officers thinking about their personal situations. A second fact is that when conservatives from the North or other parts of the country decide to move, there is a preference for Texas over Florida or California. The state has actually become more conservative over the last 20 years, and its I think this is a significant factor. In my view this factor is more responsible for Perry being elected than Perry accomplishing anything for the state.

    Another factor that is not always understood is Austin as a LIBERAL enclave within Texas. Austin is now the 14th largest city in the US, which absolutely blows the mind of this UT-Austin graduate from the 70s, when Austin was sleepy government and university town. The high tech boom involves a convergence to some degree of the conservative no-state income tax factor with an attractiveness to more liberal migrants from California and other liberal states. Two key businesses – Dell and Whole Foods — are Austin founded and HQ’d there, and this enclave has been a key driver of growth in the state.

    Another factor affecting Houston, where I live, is the consolidation of regional O&G companies in Houston. For instance, when Phillips merged with Conoco, with Phillips the acquiring company, the HQ of the merged company was nonetheless moved to Houston from Bartlesville OK. This trend has been enhanced by the impact of the big hurricanes Katrina and Rita that blasted Louisiana in 2005. Many New Orleans based O&G companies picked up stakes and moved to Houston. I think many evacuees of Katrina came here and stayed. Rick Perry and George W. Bush presided over the state during this time, but had little to do with it.

    Rick Perry is a clever, Teflon kind of politician, and the issue with him is hypocrisy. For instance, the only reason the 2009 legislature was able to balance the budget is because of stimulus funds form the feds, but Perry was making headlines with his pandering “secession” talk. More seriously, at the time when Democrats left the state senate in opposition to the Tom Delay gerrymander of congressional districts, Perry pushed through something called the Trans-Texas Corridor, which was a plan to build huge new highway, pipeline and — supposedly — rail corridors. This was to be more or less a doubling up of the interstate highway system to be financed as toll roads, and operated by a SPANISH company. It would would have required the condemnation of millions of acres of farm and ranch land, and was one of the most incredible boondoggles in recent memory. It aroused huge opposition in rural Texas, a Republican stronghold, and Perry quietly acquiesced in the termination of the plan a few years later, but never paid a political price. Recently, he has backed a right-wing fad to cut back research at the University of Texas and impose teaching measurables drawn from the for-profit university industry. This hasn’t gone anywhere either, but as always Perry pays no political price. He even once tried to outsource the functions of Child Protective Services to private companies, but couldn’t make that stick either.

    Another hypocrisy is his failure to do anything to cut back on the state lottery system. True religious conservatives are always trying to do away with this, but that goes nowhere with Perry.

    I think when you look at Texas and the election of Rick Perry, the best way to look at is to understand that the citizens of Texas’s biggest cities basically pay no attention to state government. That’s too bad because it has allowed Perry and the Republican legislature to cut radically state funding for education, which, along with highways, is the most important state responsibility. He even refused to allow the State’s rainy day fund to be used to balance the 2011 budget. If the recent financial crisis is not a rainy day, what is?

    The picture that the national electorate should take away from Rick Perry is that he will cut government services radically and cut taxes too. In Texas we are used to a lack of services, and those of us in the big cities look to our local governments to fill the slack. I’m not sure though that citizens of other states that expect more services will like his approach, assuming he is elected. But given his proven hypocrisy, if elected president, he will pander to the right and talk big about how he’s going to bring us to right wing nirvana, but then drop any initiative that threatens his political standing. It will ultimately be a squeeze on government revenues through tax cuts or funneling of government spending to Republican cronies through privatization. I don’t think the country will like that if we get it, but that’s what Rick Perry will bring to the presidency if he’s elected.

  231. Gamble20 says:

    If the price of oil and energy inflates Texas numbers, how do you explain the situation in California where they are very abundant in energy and oil? (its a fact, look it up)

  232. Sam Chong says:

    People migrate to where the jobs are. If it wasn’t for the difficulty in selling their house, there would be even more people moving to TX.

    It’s not he weather. Most of TX is dry arid and hot as hell, and the streets of Dallas is a nightmare to drive. However, as much as those d**n texans are irritating, they seem to have a workable solution to the jobs problem.

    I’m sick of the ostriches on the left throwing out nice theories, fake numbers, and not saying anything about how to make their ideas work. Just look at the data and take a long hard look in the mirror the next time someone wants to discuss more socialist utopias.

  233. Still Looking For The Answer says:

    Informative article but what is the reason for the job growth or more specifically why are people flocking to Texas which itself seems to stoke job creation? Will there come a point where population growth outstrips the need for the jobs needed to employ the population? More importantly, what is Texas doing that the rest of the country should emulate?

  234. Richard Thom says:

    As a Professional Land Surveyor licensed to practice in 5 Northern states, I tried Texas. While there may be jobs I was seen as an outsider. Nepotism and who you know is a strong factor in hiring. But if one can get a job there its an excellent place to live and raise a family.

  235. Pam says:

    Aaron took the words out of my mouth. I also appreciate your digging through the data and compiling it into a concise, readable form, which attacks and debunks the anti-Perry Texas jobs talking points. Thank you!

  236. Sam Chong says:

    The next election will be fought over two diametrically opposed views.

    On one hand, we have the commonly held views of establishment GoP and Dem political elite, that gave everyone Homeland security, mandatory health insurance, consumer protection agency. An active interventionist view that technocrats are the solution for everything that ails us.

    On the other hand, we have this guy who appears to say he wants to shrink federal government to a size he can drown in a bathtub.

    The first camp grew government and spending over about 10 years giving us large new entilements and new federal agencies with rapidly expanding mandates that are prominent in our daily lives — whether we travel by planes or if some kid wants to set up a lemonade stand, or when we read about some town manager with seven-digit compensation packages, the first came gave a government that is pervasive. And no real jobs.

    The second camp wants to make the federal government as inconsequential in our daily lives as possible. And the guy pushing this view runs a state that has created many real jobs.

    This choice is about clarity.

  237. […] for president Here's another blogger who put together some data about the job situation in TX. Rick Perry And Texas Job Numbers Political Math Suarez International Staff Instructor Force Concepts LLC Reply With Quote + […]

  238. Texas Jack says:

    Very good analysis. One wonders where the numbers would be if Obama/the feds had not put such major restrictions on drilling. I know the entire Gulf Coast still has thousands of unemployed offshore oil workers because the government stopped almost all drilling in the Gulf. The EPA and Interior have both caused major delays in drilling on both government and private leases in many areas of the country, not just Texas. I wonder what this has done to the prices you are paying for gasoline, or diesel fuel, or heating oil? And now the EPA wants to shut down several power plants just when Texas is in peak electrical demand, very nearly using the maximum avalable power. If these plants are shut down, as Obama/the EPA want, and we have rolling blackouts, first, some of our older, weaker, poor people will die (check the highs today for Houston and Dallas) and second, people will be out of work because there won’t be electricity avalable for businesses. As much as I dispise Obama, I can’t believe he wants deaths, but I can believe in his pleasure at any other pain he could inflict on Texas, for our defiance of him.

  239. Sam Chong says:

    Texas Jack,

    The EPA is one agency that should see budgets halved every year for 8 years. Many agencies are just wasted productivity but don’t do any damage directly. The EPA has mandates that will deliberately and directly kill jobs.

  240. Dennis Pearl says:

    Problem number One:

    Looks like you are making a common mistake – thinking that increases in the number of jobs reflects a strong record in new jobs. That is not the case. The change in the number of jobs is the difference between two components:
    1) new jobs (through business starts or business expansions or business re-locations in) and
    2) jobs lost (through business contractions or business ends or business re-locations out)
    The BLS reports this data at the state level on a quarterly basis and the latest report is at http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cewbd.t06.htm

    As you will see Texas lags behind the nation in new jobs. For example, they created only about 7.4% of the new jobs added in the U.S. in the fourth quarter of 2010 despite having more than 8% of the population/workforce.

    The data on job retention (i.e. avoiding job losses) do look pretty good for Texas – though taking into account the nature of their workforce it turns out that even that is no different than what would be expected.

  241. dunce says:

    Great job of getting the facts and not spinning them.Giving credit or blame to governors if done should use the same yardstick for all states and should not cherry pick what you measure to skew the facts. Every legislature in different states is a major player in the outcomes.

  242. The way it works in the United States is that if the economy of a state or the nation as a whole is doing well, the governor or President as the case may be, gets the credit. Except if the Governor or President is a Republican, in which case the credit is minimized. That’s why the media will first seek to minimize the achievements of Texas, then will say that Perry had nothing to do with it.

    Also, as to what a commentator says about government benefits – what Texas vs. rest of the nation shows is that if you offer lots of benefits it hurts your economic performance. And besides – who says government should provide benefits? I don’t want government to take from someone else to give to me, I and my family can do it on our own thank you – we don’t need money to be taken from someone else to give to us.

    Besides benefits are poison. Look how benefits have destroyed the African American community – first by destroying the family, which leads to unbelievable amounts of crime and no will to be educated, then its leaders get hooked on the poverty gravy train, leading to lack of real will to make conditions better, then making sure the media adopts a policy (“political correctness’) under which none of that can be mentioned – African Americans were destroyed by a benefit structure which ensured the family could not stay together. The Latino community would be well advised to learn from this when deciding which party to support – there is poison attached to government benefits, and the Latino community is already down the path to destruction as a result of reliance on government benefits – that part never seems to get mentioned.

  243. crazyksn says:

    Actually, revisiting this–31 states out perform the nation in terms of unemployment. Of those, Texas actually ranks 25th. Seems pretty average. So what exactly makes Texas so special?

    On a side note–did the author look not just at energy, but also at commodities? It seems like there may be a link between commodity-rich states and economic recovery: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704034804576025411275078954.html. With agriculture and energy, there are a ton of other industries affected by their growth–chemical companies, transportation, utilities, service, engineering, construction, communication, infrastructure, etc. What is the total effect of the growth of these industries?

  244. haskell says:

    Thanks very much for an informative, well-thought out, and helpful analysis. Great job.

  245. rghurst says:

    As a native Texas, just let me say one thing. If you’re movin’ to Texas, don’t come down here and start tryin’ to make Texas more like the place you came from. The reason Texas has jobs, and the place you came from doesn’t, is because Texas is different … low taxes, reasonable cost of living, reasonable expectation that you can take care of yourself and not expect the government to do everything for you.

    We have a good thing goin’ here is Texas. Don’t Mess with It!!

  246. Allan S says:

    Thanks for the breakdown of the unemployment numbers. I am so very tired of the nonsensical numbers thrown out to support really bad ideas or unsupportable positions. I cannot understand why there are so few responsible journalists that will apply even the simplest of analysis to the disinformation they love to repeat.
    Ty – facts are funny things. I stopped reading your post when you threw in the in the “Tom Delay gerrymander” jab. If you will recall, the Texas districts had been horrendously distorted by the DEMOCRATS for decades. The Republicans used their first opportunity to redraw the lines legitimately. But even after their efforts, the definition of the districts gave an edge to Democratic candidates. Of course, that is just an opinion – of the Supreme Court after they heard the facts.
    Pearl – If you are trying to say that no one wants an old job – that only new jobs count – you may want to rethink that!

  247. Begonia says:

    Is your population data for TOTAL population, or for LABOR force population?

    It seems like some of the dramatic increase in population could be explained by natural population forces like births, especially since Texas has a large hispanic population and the hispanic population is younger and the hispanic birth rate is higher than the average birth rate in this country. Without knowing what the population chart represents, I would hesitate to conclude, as you and your commenters do, that people are “flocking to Texas” to look for jobs.

  248. rich says:

    I appreciate the detail of analysis here and admit as a liberal democrat from upstate NY, I am a sucker for most of these lines of reasoning (though they have been tempered with this analysis). This may be much trickier (if not impossible to accomplish), but I would be curious to see how many of these jobs are “new” vs “stealing” from other states. I keep seeing proclamations by conservative pundits that Texas has “created” approximately 1 million “new” jobs since 2003, but seriously doubt that many of these jobs are really new positions added to the aggregate US economy. For instance, my wife’s company relocated to Dallas and offered its 300 employees the chance to stay on board if they relocated with significant cuts to their salaries. Therefore, any of the positions that could not be filled through relocation would be hired locally in Texas at much lower wage, thus creating no new jobs nationally, but a decent handful in Texas and ultimately continue the trend of distributing wealth to the top of the company/upper class Americans. Unfortunately for those of us in upstate NY, there have been several companies who have done this, at the expense of the hard working middle class American. For this reason, some serious analysis on how many of these jobs are new jobs for “Americans” should really be performed to determine if this isn’t really Texas pouching jobs from other states and the subsequent arrival of service industry jobs (fast food joints, etc) to accommodate the shifting job base in America’s aggregate economy. However, with that said, NY is guilty of the same tricks, stealing 1,200 great paying jobs from Austin through the creation of a semi-conductor industry up here, claim the creation of “new” jobs. Sadly, they may be great paying “new” jobs for us New Yorker’s, but they are simply recycled jobs for the American economy. Hopefully, this isn’t what our great country will be reduced to as it attempts to reinvent its economy for the 21st century and certainly isn’t a winning strategy for either political party to chase after.

  249. Dennis Pearl says:

    Problem number Two:

    Your description of the population growth in Texas makes it sound recent and tied to economic trends. This is not the case. Let’s look at the data from the census department: Texas grew by 27.1% from 1970 to 1980; then by 19.4% from 1980 to 1990; then by 22.8% from 1990 to 2000; and then by 20.6% from 2000 to 2010. So Texas has grown by about 2% per year for more than 40 years – Whether Democrats Preston Smith, Dolph Briscoe, Mark White or Ann Richards was Governor or Republicans Bill Clements, George Bush or Rick Perry were serving as Governor.
    So what is the driving force in the population growth? Have a look at http://www.nytimes.com/imagepages/2011/02/18/18texas_graphic.html?ref=us. From 2000 to 2010 about 2/3 of the population growth was due to the increase in the Hispanic population. This was predominately caused by immigration and a high birth rate. Because the Hispanic population of Texas is quite young there are nearly 9 births for every death. That is simply not driven by differently economic conditions between the states.

  250. Josh says:

    Wow. Great work, man. Well done.

  251. crazyksn says:

    @B. Samuel Davis–If you truly believe benefits are responsible for “destroying the African American community” in the US, you have a small-minding view of history and no understanding of the challenges that face black youth in America today.

    Pervasive, statistically proven glass ceilings still exist, in mid-western cities, such as Kansas City and Chicago, blockbusting created black ghettos (after black families moved in public services, like bus routes and trash pickups were systematically discontinued), which influenced school district re-zoning to preserve segregated schools as recently as the 1970’s. The all-black schools, that existed into the 1980’s (in Kansas City) and later, haven’t ever been the equivalent of their white suburban counterparts.

    While the civil rights movement happened in the 60’s, attitudes in many places remained unchanged for decades (or even still), limiting equal access to jobs or opportunity. Over time, the symptoms of poverty develop in communities (white, black or otherwise), and feelings of powerlessness, teen pregnancies, drug use and high crime take their toll on a culture.

    Throughout the world, there is no other developed country that has the kind of discrepancy in educational performance across classes as the United States has. This, not benefits, is the biggest problem we have as a nation.

  252. Very interesting and informative info. I too am not a Perry supporter, but this analysis seems to dispel the talking points against the Texas job situation.

  253. Kevin Kenney says:

    Great job! I’m sure that this post represents untold hours of work. I’m glad you love your hobby that much. I know that I, and probably many others truly appreciate non-ideologically driven data and analysis. Please keep up the great work.

  254. Bob Duncan says:

    Does your mother know what a potty mouth you are
    Of course you are a liberal so its understadable

  255. Houston Guy says:

    As one of the folks that moved here in the last ten years, I can tell you what I found “special” about Texas.
    When I moved here from Michigan, Jenifer Granholm had just become Governor. Her response to essentially the same situation her predecessor found himself in when taking office was the exact opposite of his: She increased spending, increased taxes, increased regulations and increased fees.
    My business was in the computer field as a contractor /sub-contractor.
    I moved to Houston.
    Immediately, my income increased without increasing my rates. (Lost the 4% state income tax.)
    When I filled my gas tank, I was paying 25 -40 cents less per gallon.
    When I went to the store, food prices were significantly less for just about all of it, and particularly for fish and seafood.
    Property taxes were less. Housing prices were less.
    Business taxes: As an LLC, I ended up filling out a one page form yearly. Any business income less than $150,000 is not taxed.
    If you make $50,000 a year, and live in Houston, you would need to make:
    Almost $61,000 in Chicago http://www.bestplaces.net/col/?salary=50000&city1=54835000&city2=51714000
    Over $91,500 in New York http://www.bestplaces.net/col/?salary=50000&city1=54835000&city2=53651000
    and over $79,000 in Los Angeles http://www.bestplaces.net/col/?salary=50000&city1=54835000&city2=50644000
    Further, besides being the most affordable of the top 5 cities by population in the US, Houston is also the most diverse, in terms of the racial make up of it’s neighborhoods. People are friendly, there is an incredible diversity in terms of food, music, and culture in general.
    The state legislature meets for 120 every TWO YEARS! (Unless called into special session as was done this year.)
    I love it here!

  256. SteveR says:

    Perry may have been ancillary to the discussion, and a mere beneficiary of everything that went on in his state, but at least he had the good sense to sit back, let it happen, and not do anything to screw it up. That’s worth something.

  257. Mark says:

    @John “You really miss the whole cause and effect paradigm. Your statement is like saying that if you want smaller fires, send fewer fire trucks.”

    I was talking about correlations, not causation.

    I know that people often make the mistake of attributing causality to correlations, and I know it is fun to point it out when they do. But there can sometimes be value in talking about simple correlations!

  258. rob says:

    We can debate and argue till the pigs come home. the fact of the matter is that the liberals see Perry as a big risk for Obama-Texas is working -no matter how you look at it and try and skew the numbers. I live in California and for the past 40 years have seen a great state decline-morally, mentally and economically- all because of the inability of liberals and progressives to face REALITY. I know of many people moving to Texas from California-homes are much cheaper and in my opinion there is much more American common sense in Texas. Perry will be slandered and lied about until the next presidential elections-the press will be the attack dogs and propagandists for the Obama administration -truth will fall by the wayside-this is how liberals role. A low paying job is better than no job to a man whiling to do an honest days work. Some jobs are starter jobs that require low skills -the world has always been this way. The problem with many on the left is their belief that all jobs should be high pay union jobs-even starter jobs like clerks in a 7-eleven This type of mentality is what destroyed the Soviet Union.

  259. Emmett Berryman says:

    I think this is great work and information sadly most won’t make it through. My only comment would be with respect to the last point that roughly says you can’t say Perry had nothing to do with jobs and Obama could have something to do with them. I conclude from this data that much of job creation here is the result of low taxes and regulation and descent weather (a bit hot) all of which predate Perry and perhaps Bush. In addition the Texas governor is one of the weakest governors by design – the drafters of the TX constitution having a living memory of Santa Ana. So I think an argument could be made that Perry did little
    and Obama could do more. But I would agree also that there are any other of bigger and better reasons not to support Perry. Thanks for doing this work.

  260. oldtimer1001 says:

    Old TY has to try and be critical of his Governor even though he benefits from his policies. Remember he is a democrat and a dying breed who will wither away with Osama sorry I mean Obama. I betcha he is a liberal with my tax money and a conservative with his own??? What u betcha???

  261. Karen says:

    Very nicely done. It’s so rare to find thoughtful analysis in this political climate, especially when the data don’t support one’s political preferences. Thank you!

  262. Pauline says:

    I am all in favor of anyone who wants to shrink the size of government – all government – federal, state and local. When you get too many people employed in the government sector and in public unions, you will see these people either finding a place to hide and sleep or trying to justify their jobs by harassing private citizens. All public sector unions should be de-certified, all public sector pensions should be privatized into 401-K’s and social security, all public sector health insurance should be privatized and funded at the same level as the majority of those in the private sector. There are actually only two classes of people in the U.S.: those on the public dole (either as handouts or in employment) and those that aren’t.

  263. toebanjo says:

    Your research, charting and analysis was awesome. That was a great post.

  264. Bill says:

    ObaMAO is going down…

    – in the polls
    – in the next election
    – on George Soros as usual

  265. Frank Reitz says:

    Thanks. Your efforts are appreciated. Oh, if only the Chris Matthews of the world could read and understand your analysis we could have a discussion about policies instead of vitriolic rants.

  266. […] Rick Perry And Texas Job Numbers « Political Math. […]

  267. Common Sense says:

    Very informative. Thank you from a Virginian for Perry.

  268. My analysis of the public sector jobs story comes out quite differently, as a commenter pointed out.

    It looks to me like you mistakenly used seasonally unadjusted data–you can’t compare Dec07 to Jun11 using NSA (not seasonally adjusted) data. If you use the correct (seasonally adjusted) data, you would have gotten 112K increase gov’t jobs over that span.

    BTW, I used the annual data to avoid any seasonal issues but mainly because the BLS does not provide seasonally adjusted data for the private sector which is an important part of my comparison.

    See if this changes your mind at all: http://jaredbernsteinblog.com/texas-and-the-gov%e2%80%99t-better-friends-than-you%e2%80%99d-think/

  269. Ann Harron says:

    First off who are you ? You sound like another liberal that puts out crap that does’t put his name to anything . You web site looks like it too . I believe with all the flap that Carney’s getting getting right now calling for him to be replaced says it all about you and your next story Tim Carney’s Awesomeness Theory of Capitalism says it all . Try snowing people that don’t know what is going on in America like maybe Iran . They love crap like your writing .

  270. Brian says:

    Another great post, thanks

  271. Here’s the link and data you missed.


    One of the main reasons Texas has done well over the last few years was the non-existence of a housing bubble here. When you always have more land to expand, it’s cheaper just to build new houses. We never had an inflationary house price bubble here, and so when it popped nationally Texas came out ahead. The recession didn’t even hit here until 2009, and even then was largely mitigated by high energy prices…which *helps* Texas (and as you note account for a good portion of the gains).

  272. LarryC TX says:

    DennisPearl, remember that those numbers, like interest on savings accounts, compound. A 20% increase in the first decade leaves 120% of what it began with. Therefore, the 20% increase the second decade is 20% of 120%, etc., for each decade. Even if it still leaves an average of 2% per year the compounded number at the end, even of 2%, is still large.

  273. Maxwell James says:

    Interesting post. But I think there’s a huge hole in your analysis. Using BLS data, here is Texas total _private_ employment over the past decade:

    8.84 million in December 2007
    8.63 million in December 2010

    Meanwhile, government jobs increased by 100,000 over the same time period. Education and healthcare jobs increased by 120,000 over the same time period.

    I think this data is pretty difficult to square with the notion that Texas has enjoyed some kind of private-sector boom.

  274. Bellatrix says:

    @Richard Thom: if you didn’t find a job in Texas as a surveyor, then come try again. Every county in Texas needs a licensed surveyor, and even small cities usually have one. But frequently these entities hire civil engineers, because there aren’t enough surveyors to go around. Avoid the big cities and look to the mid-size and little places. And good luck!

  275. Jon says:

    Great stuff!

  276. Alejandro Andreotti says:

    Just to ask you to consider Jared Bernstein point on seasonally adjusted data on public sector jobs. I found your analysis very compelling, and I’ll love to know who is right here. Bernstein is no slouch with data either…

  277. Herb Holder says:

    Maybe if California collected an excise tax on oil and gas production, like Texas does, its government could stimulate the economy too. It’s possible that the Texas Miracle comes from a tax! Yaaay oil tax!

  278. ml hamburger says:

    @rghurst: You wrote: As a native Texas, just let me say one thing. If you’re movin’ to Texas, don’t come down here and start tryin’ to make Texas more like the place you came from. The reason Texas has jobs, and the place you came from doesn’t, is because Texas is different … low taxes, reasonable cost of living, reasonable expectation that you can take care of yourself and not expect the government to do everything for you.
    We have a good thing goin’ here is Texas. Don’t Mess with It!!

    rghurst, I could not have said it better myself. I am a 66 year old native Texan and I am sick and tired of jerks who come here for a better life and then want to change Texas to look and think like the place they left. What idiots! I have always said that people immigrating into Texas should be given a test first. They do not pass, we do not let them in. I like Texas and I do not want California, New York, Washington, Oregon, etc., etc. So if you do not like our way of thinking and work ethic, stay away!!!!!

  279. alex says:

    how do you deal with some of these facts?


    and the fact that TX has the 4th highest poverty rate in the nation

  280. Walt says:

    Could it be that Texas numbers are inflated significantly by a larger increase in discouraged workers? That would account for discrepancy before mathblogger and Max Jones’ numbers.

  281. Eric says:

    I’d like to see some analysis of the important, unanswered question concerning the causal link between job growth and population growth — does job growth increase population (by attracting job seekers) or does population growth increase jobs (by stimulating demand, e.g., for houses, food, clothes, which local employers can only fill by hiring workers).

    If the latter, then Texas’s record is unexceptional — it’s added jobs just because its population has increased, much in the same way that its total volume of garbage generated, water consumption, etc., have also undoubtedly been going up.

    Yet, without any evidentiary support, you simply seem to assume that the other causal relationship predominates. That’s the whole point of your arbitrary conclusion that “my favorite chart” somehow reflects “employment reality.” @francisgagnon tried to educate you on this, but your UPDATE seems to have wholly missed the point.

    The real lesson is probably that comparative studies in a highly fluid environment (like the job market in a country with freedom of movement) is tricky business, at best. Pepole who think they can draw solid conclusions from this data, by itself, are kidding themselves.

    You also do not appear to have read anything that explains the “unsustainable public sector jobs” point. The premise to this argument is that Perry’s budget is relying on accounting tricks to avoid having to lay off 100,000 public workers. However, these accounting tricks are in the nature of one-time only shenanigans, meaning that Perry is merely kicking the can down the road a little, delaying the inevitable termination of these jobs. In turn, this argument says that an honest appraisal of Perry’s record would discount Texas’s employment figures by these 100,000 jobs. I’m not sure about the strengths of this argument, but if you’re purporting to “deal with” the argument, it seems like you should at least understand it and present it fairly.

  282. Habbit says:

    Jason Bennett, how is it that you have such an excellent analysis and still manage such a puerile conclusion? If Governor Perry’s policies have been ones to “continue or expand previously existing ones in terms of state-business relations”, then quite simply the (obvious) exact opposite of that is impeding the terms of country-business relations, which President Obama has been happy to oblige.

    One could say Perry’s assisting the economic development of his state by continuing what works and recognizing the factors that have facilitated the stability of the region is, in or of itself, genius.

  283. Frank says:

    I would like to give my kudos to a well researched, well stated and UNBIASED article stating the job situation in Texas. Great job in trying to cover all the variables which have happened in our society during the last few years. I especially was happy to see how you let the reader make up their own mind about the role Governor Perry has played in the economy of Texas. You provided the information and the reader can make up their own mind!!! Excellent!!!

  284. […] Read it. Full disclosure: I don’t like Rick Perry for our next president. I have my reasons that aren’t worth going into here. However, when I was watching the GOP debate and pro-Perry people started bringing up Rick Perry’s job numbers as a cudgel against other candidates, I looked into the BLS data on Texas jobs. Having familiarized myself with the data, I started noticing claims on the Texas jobs data that started popping up that directly contradicted what I was seeing in the data. So I wanted to clear up a couple of these common misconceptions. […]

  285. AFMom says:

    Your data is the same as that found on the Texas Workforce Commission/NTI website. The median wage in the US is $16.27, so for a state that is very affordable to live in with no personal income tax, low property tax/insurance, etc. Texas is working! The change in income from 2005 to December 2010 was only $6,254 ($33,185 to $39,493).
    The fastest growing industry is Healthcare; not “energy” or oil/gas. Some of the posts here have erroneously stated that the oil & gas industry have had the largest growth – along with Obama. Actually the energy sector jobs have stayed relatively stable over the past four years.
    Our unemployment rate has not budged much during 2010-11 from a low of 8.1% to a high of 8.3% compared to the unemployment rate in 2006 at 5.0% (seasonally adjusted).
    The fact of the matter is that the cost of living in Texas is currently ranked 2nd with Oklahoma being 1st.
    Rick Perry and his entire administration have been very good stewards of keeping Texas alive and well during this horrifc economic downturn and job market.

    Yes, Texas did take stimulus money – all 50 states did! Of the $15.3 billion allocated to Texas (based on population/unemployment/medicare & medicaid recipients, etc.)


    The breakdown is:
    Medicaid Programs, Education, Transportation, Workforce Assistance, Law Enforcement, Housing & Infrastructure

    The Center for American Progress found that Rhode Island, Alaska, New York, Vermont, and New Jersey would receive the most money per capita, and Utah, Colorado, Virginia, Texas, and Florida received the least.

    Having lived in California it is not surprising there are so many Californians thinking they can run into Texas and find the sweet life – they are so ADD! I doubt the relocating population from Michigan or Nevada have made much of an empact on our swelling population.

    Wow, let’s just shoot Gov. Perry now for bringing in JOBS! Whether they are min. wage jobs or those paying $100k + (heaven forbid you make $251,000 lest you be considered a millionaire/billionaire for that “shared sacrifice” mantra being spewed by Obama!) Gov. Perry and his administration have lobbied for our state. Can he do this for the rest of the country – ABSOLUTELY! The man knows how to deal!

  286. Doconicus says:

    Habbit, I like your comment, it comes down to “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”, Which is really difficult for a politician. So, if Gov. Perry was able to withstand the temptation, then he should reap the harvest of praise. So, I guess I concur.

    Jason, what a great article. well done old bean.

  287. Eileen says:

    I was just reading the following article when my friend linked to your comments here on FB. Now I am curios, do you think the following characterization/ information is accurate? http://jaredbernsteinblog.com/texas-and-the-gov%E2%80%99t-better-friends-than-you%E2%80%99d-think/ Thanks!

  288. Sandalbar says:

    Yes, very good data. The next question is can every state in the union somehow arrange to have an influx of 700,000 plus people?

  289. […] This take is justifiably getting a lot of attention. […]

  290. Robert Lovell says:

    So, if low taxes and low regulations are what create a good jobs environment, wouldn’t that mean that conservative Republicans should be running the country instead of liberal Democrats? I used to live in corrupt, high-tax Illinois, and I am glad to be gone from there.

  291. 1ProudVet says:

    I thought the Stimulus didn’t create any jobs

  292. ghanta says:

    What a bunch of garbage. If wages are growing fast, that means the jobs being created are not low paying jobs??? HUH? comparing apples and oranges here…just because you say you don’t like perry doesn’t mean…..

  293. Edward says:

    This is a great article and is well-researched. I would, however, like to see some type of analysis of the effect the energy sector has had from the perspective of a multiplier effect. Presumably the growth in energy jobs is responsible for an even larger share of the overall job growth than your numbers imply, as businesses involved in drilling/refining/etc consume products provided by non-energy-sector businesses.

    I’d also be interested in extrapolating some of the implications that this might have from a policy perspective. Texas has a unique advantage in that it is able to convince businesses and talent to migrate from other less business-friendly states while still remaining in America, but that same advantage does not necessarily apply at the global level (or even the continental level), as a business cannot relocate even from Toronto to New York City as easily as one can move from New York City to Houston. Is there data available that demonstrates job creation and migration from country to country that might allow for some comparison?

  294. Thomas says:

    Responding to the commenter regarding California being third in energy production, so why is it not getting the same benefit that Texas does? As a Californian who actually lives near Hollywood, I can assure you that there is a reason that the TV show we created was called “Dallas” and not “Bakersfield.”

    It’s the same reason that Texas energy companies were able to manipulate our energy markets and cause our energy “crisis”. Namely, outside of Chevron, the vast majority of energy companies operating in California are based in Texas. When they extract oil from our wells we get a few oil rigger style jobs that a lot of my drag racing friends really enjoy having. They are high quality jobs and I got nothing bad to say about them.

    But the actual profits from those operations largely end up in Texas. And not just the profits earned from their California operations, but profits earned by many of the largest energy companies on Earth end up in Texas. To think that all of that money sloshing around in their economy is not creating a large number of jobs that are not “energy related” is to miss a very large point.

    From a macro-economic standpoint California is a large net energy importer, while Texas is a large net energy exporter. What that means is that higher energy prices scale in such a way as to cost California more and more, while those same increases mean more and more income for Texas. It’s exactly the same dynamic you see with the U.S. vs Saudi Arabia. High energy costs transfer wealth from importers to exporters.

    Imagine the California economy if cars required movie tickets to operate and we tripled the price of them over the course of a few years. Our cost to produce movies has not changed but now we are making three times as much revenues for the same levels of output(jobs). Whether we create more movie jobs or not we are richer and you are poorer.

    I don’t spend most of that new money producing new movies, because you are not going to dramatically increase how much you drive if I do. Instead I am gonna go buy a big expensive hat and a big expensive car and start living the good life. That money that I spend will support the local non-movie making economy and create all kinds of decent non-movie making jobs.


  295. Summer says:

    It can be said that Governor Perry has a very small role in the unemployment rates, etc. of Texas because, frankly, the governor of Texas has very little power, and it has been so for the past century or so. After Governor Davis abused power in the 1800’s, the Texan people gave most of the power (according to the Texas Constitution) to the Lieutenant Governor – the Governor is just a figurehead. You said, “One can argue that Perry had very little to do with the job situation in Texas, but such a person should be probably prepare themselves for the consequences of that line of reasoning. If Rick Perry had nothing to do with creating jobs in Texas, than why does Obama have something to do with creating jobs anywhere?” – Obama has more power as the head of the US than Rick Perry does as the head of TX (specifically, Obama carries more policy-making power over his constituents – the US – than Rick Perry does over his constituents – the state of Texas).

  296. Michael says:

    @Alex 1.6 million illegal immigrants would probably skew your states’ ranking too.

  297. SongDog says:

    Another factor in the Texas situation which i have seen some analysts mention is its high minority population. Given that minorities usually have a higher rate of unemployment than whites, it is remarkable that that factor does not push down the numbers.

    I do believe having a core business concentration like energy which is doing well influences then entire economy. When crude prices were $8 in the ’80s, things weren’t so good here even though the tax and regulation environment were about the same.

    Perry has been a good governor, though not an exceptional one. I have my doubts whether he is presidential timber, as they say. But to his undying credit, he successfully resisted enormous pressures this past legislative session, from all the major newspapers and government employees groups, to raise taxes to cover a budget shortfall. Instead it was accomplished with budget cuts and I believe we will prosper because of it.

  298. Michael says:

    Thought I would throw this out there as well. This guy has done a good job dissecting some of the stories/myths currently going around the mediasphere at the moment.


  299. John Davis says:

    Pretty impressive analysis. Given the economic state of this country, it behooves us to analyze what Texas is doing to create jobs that is not being done in the other states. To those who say that the “Obama stimulus” created these jobs, the obvious question would be why did Texas create jobs where other states did not. I don’t know all of the answers, but I know several businessmen who have moved their companies from California (where I live) to Texas. The reason? Lower taxes.

  300. Marytx says:

    Sanalbar, if they could be on the border of Mexico, they could…just wait…they’ll find their way to a state near you. and…..GOD BLESS TEXAS

  301. 1ProudVet says:

    Oklahoma 5.3%
    New Mexico 6.8%
    Louisiana 6.8%

    1,000,000 gov’t killed by Congress since 2009.

  302. After checking this out again….I was wondering how you make it through a whole article on post-recession job growth and don’t even use the word “stimulus”?

    After noting that Texas largely missed out on the housing bubble bursting, doesn’t it make sense that the resulting stimulus, which went to everyone, had a more powerful effect on an economy that wasn’t already reeling?

  303. AK says:

    wait a sec here- the BLS data on median wages here is only for the job, not the actual distribution of jobs. The actual median wage EARNED is $11.20, below the national average (http://www.bls.gov/ro6/fax/minwage_tx.htm#_ftnref3). More importantly, the earned wage has been going down – not the trend in the rest of the country

  304. AK says:

    wait a sec here- the BLS data on median wages here is only for the job itself, not the actual distribution of jobs. The actual median wage EARNED is $11.20, below the national average (http://www.bls.gov/ro6/fax/minwage_tx.htm#_ftnref3). More importantly, the earned wage has been going down – not the trend in the rest of the country

  305. Dennis Pearl says:

    Problem number Three:

    As discussed in my second post – the real Texas population growth story is driven by the growth of the Hispanic population with a 42% increase over the last decade (compared to only a 4% increase for the non-Hispanic White population over the whole decade). Now, Texas has the longest border of any state with Mexico – 1241 of the 1933 miles of land border – so you might expect the growth of the Hispanic population to be a bit larger there than in other states. But was it? No! Actually, the Hispanic population grew rapidly almost everywhere during the last decade and Texas ranks 42nd out of the 50 states in the percentage increase (see http://pewhispanic.org/files/reports/140.pdf).

    Again, attributing the population growth to different economic policies in the different states is speculative at best.

  306. jgs says:

    Nice analysis overall but I think you’re vastly underestimating the impact of engergy on job growth in TX. For starters, you would also want to at least include the industries – 1. oil and gas extraction and 2. Support activities for mining. I took a quick look at annual data with your categories plus those categories and the job growth ’10 / ’09 was about 43%. (I assume you were dividing by growth in non farm payroll.)

    It doesn’t make a lot of sense to include manufacturing of petroleum products because higher commodity prices in the face of a weak domestic economy would hurt employment at the margin and capacity is essentially fixed.

    I would say that whatever the raw BLS data tells you underestimates the impact of energy for a couple of other reasons. 1. The upstream part of the business has experienced tremendous productivity improvements through technology over the last 10 – 15 years – improved seismic imaging, horizontal drilling, frac’ing, etc. I don’t think the categories either of us selected sufficiently capture the R&D, and possibly the equipment manufacturing associated with upstream capital expenditures. 2. Employment in the upstream part of the business is not derivative of any other sector outside of energy. People don’t go to Texas to drill for oil and gas for the BBQ. BBQ restaurants, hotels, services, investment bankers, lawyers, etc. follow the core employment drivers.

    There’s really no good way to measure the investment capital in the state due high commodity prices but I’d bet my house that it accounts for more jobs than one can reasonably estimate with BLS data.

    I don’t say this as a knock on Perry because I think any Republican candidate can reasonably say that we need an energy policy more accommodating to job creation and relieving the pressures high gas prices put on consumers.

  307. Aggie95 says:

    sorry folks if you think about it ….Texas has added close to …well I suspect a good deal more than 3,000,000 people over the last decade ….how do I reach that conclusion …easy ….Texas is adding 4 congressional seats and I believe each congressional seat represents 700,000 people

  308. Jeff says:

    My opinion is that jobs is the foremost topic on the minds of the voter this time around. Texas is a rare gem as far as employment is goes because of the energy boom. One hundred new jobs in energy will create jobs in some other sector. Just look at North Dakota. Dumb luck. Right place at the right time. Cowboys will say “they would rather have a thimble of luck than a bucket full of skill”. As long as Texas energy jobs and energy companies grow in Texas they will continue to thrive. But, as soon as energy supply sours they’ll be like so many other less fortunate states are now. It won’t be Perry’s fault.
    Question is…can Rick Perry bring us out of this recession? Is low corporate taxes, less regulation and free trade the answer? What’s good for you may not bee good for me.

  309. jgs says:

    The real question is what Perry can accomplish in D.C. He will be stepping into a situation vastly different than the one he stepped into in Texas – peak commodity prices, business friendly policy, being in a state where people were already beginning to relocate from cold weather states, and being the closest viable state to the disaster that has been California / Arizona.

    Inheriting a business friendly regime in Texas is a much different job than reforming entitlement spending, getting tax and trade policy through congress, etc. I honestly don’t know enough about him to say but I haven’t heard any of his supporters make the case for it in simply saying jobs grew under his tenure as governor.

  310. Zena says:

    Would you mind an update integrating this data? It indicates that Texas is tied with Misssissippi for highest percentage of min wage workers, and that the median wage is $11.20, as pointed out above.

  311. JT says:

    I was waiting for the other shoe to drop and everything to come crashing down around Gov. Perry.

    The best analysis I’ve seen anywhere. Thank you.

    As for sending him to Washington….., how has the last 2 years been working for ya?

  312. jgs says:


    Hope you’re not responding to my post because I’m not an Obama fan. If you were, have a look at my first post about 5 or 6 up from yours.

  313. Herb Holder says:

    Remember, Texas government has been spending way more than it takes in – running a deficit!!! – thereby stimulating the economy, perhaps creating jobs.

  314. will says:

    Nice work, looks like it took some time. Being a military guy, i am a strong believer in the commander is responsible for everything the unit does or fails to do. I think the concept of the US (in its founding) is that if the government stays out of the way the people will drive prosperity. Taken at any given snapshot in time you can point out flaws with capitalism, but if you look at it in the long run the prosperity is astounding. So if all Perry did was continue successful policies or not institute harmful ones, that is what i want my president and government to do. I am willing to succeed or fail on my own wits and talent. As an American I bow to no man, and pledge fealty to none, but my country, my community, and my family.

  315. FLDAWG says:

    AFMom hit it out of the park.. She also has very good information that this person cannot refute. I’m sure a lot of people are hurting and would take one of those “minimum wage” jobs. And she’s correct, if you happen to get blessed and make $250,001, here would come this tyrannical government and say ‘time to pay the piper’ (AKA Government).

    Puh-leeze! Perry has made it possible for Texas to be better off than most of the country. Criticize him for that shall YOU? Yes you shall.

  316. Pete says:

    Just saw on CNN Anderson Cooper citing a .5 % drop in private sector employment, with sizable increases in public sector employment for Texas. Have you seen this, and what would be your reaction?

  317. Paula says:

    The only thing missing from this excellent analysis is the fact that while wages might be solidly in the middle of the pack, Texas has no state income tax – making takehome pay on the order of 10% higher. Just another reason why Texas rocks.

  318. Brad says:

    Your origional data can be made to look pretty interesting in your perspective. An obvious reason you are so confused… When you ANALYZE that data with elementary math, the work force of the nation declines slightly (due to people quitting job searches, causing a deflation of the true unemployment level). At the same time, the Texas work force increases considerably (no doubt, due to people going to Texas because of the lucrative job market). Simple supply and demand would state that the national employment rate would go up and Texas would go down. This is not the case in the sources that you provided. Texas’ economy DOES work better than most and you would be a fool for thinking otherwise. Check again pal. Don’t be so quick in judging and being an ignorant retard. Does it even matter to you anyways?

  319. ajk says:

    I’d like to see refuted that Texas does not really have a job miracle, it has a population growth miracle. If this is just due to increase in population, it is not really a miracle at all.

  320. Brad says:

    Not to mention the government putting thousands of Texans out of jobs for several weeks in the period analyzed. I think Texas did pretty well for themselves…

  321. Bill says:

    People hate to hear it, but Texas is just awesome in every way.

  322. JL Magee says:

    All I can say after looking over the graphs……poor Michigan….how do they survive? Is Nugent feeding everyone?

  323. buddy larsen says:

    …the intellectual capital of the energy industry yes it is, but the nasty rhetoric, threats, taxes and tax plans, and general punitive designs of the left are driving some leading outfits to Switzerland.


    (and that’s an old article –some real biggies have since joined the exodus)

  324. Praveen says:


    I’d encourage you to take a look at per-capita numbers as well, and then you’ll see that the numbers aren’t as rosy as they seem. You do mention population growth on multiple occasions in your piece, but I think it’s important to note that per-capita growth in GDP etc is what’s important when measuring well-being.


    I compared CA and TX on per-capita GDP growth since the late 90’s and found (to my surprise) that CA wins handily. So the story isn’t quite so simple. Even when you measure over a shorter period, say eliminate the 90’s boom – CA still has higher per-capita GDP growth than TX. I only compared these two states, though I’d like to do a ranking time permitting.

    Additionally, government job growth was a huge part of the picture in TX during the recession, and served as quite a traditional Keynesian buffer:


    Texas is indeed creating jobs, that’s a fact. But its population is also growing rapidly, both due to high internal population growth and migration. Unless you measure on a per-capita basis, you won’t see the whole story. And when you do, you’ll see that TX is doing fine, but it’s not exactly top of the rankings.

    P.S. Why do I harp so much on per-capita GDP and per-capita GDP growth? Well, would you rather live in China or Luxembourg? Absolute size doesn’t help with well-being. And if Perry is claiming that he increased prosperity, it is absolutely important to look at the numbers in this way.

  325. mtnmedic1 says:

    I am a bit confused. You start off by saying that you don’t like Perry for your own reasons which you don’t wish to go into but then spend what was obviously a great deal of time and effort (excellent work obtaining all the stats, followed through it and it is accurate, timely and you have listed it in a way that makes it easy to follow; good job!) showing how well Texas has done under his care. Granted you close by saying that he may not have anything to do with it but you can’t show that he didn’t.
    For someone who doesn’t like the man, you have nudged me closer to liking him a great deal.

  326. Ken in DFW says:

    People come to Texas looking for work. Texas has been the workplace state since the 80’s so this is nothing new. Companies relocate or open operations here because it’s cheaper overall from a taxing perspective and the labor force is cheaper (even high tech jobs are cheaper here in Texas – an IT person that makes under $100K here would have to be paid 30-40% more in the Northeast or Upper Midwest). While TX may not have an income tax, it’s one of the higher property taxes in the country. A house valued at $200K is north of $5K in property taxes (2.5%). We also have one of the highest gas taxes as well, over $.35/gallon while our roads and streets crumble underneath our feet.

    In the last 2 years the unemployment rate has actually been going up in Texas. Texas responds about 2 years later than the coasts for job loss and job creation. We’re the last to the party and the recovery here usually takes alot longer. I’ve lived here more than 20 years and lived through 3 long recessions. It’s not different this time, it’s just the rhetoric that’s different this time.

  327. […] low wages (think he reads Political math? no, me […]

  328. Jake McKenzie says:

    I just wanted to stop by and say that this is really good work. I had my doubts about the jobs numbers but reading what you wrote then reading the actual data from the sources backs up your claims better than anyone who has written on the subject that I have run across.

    This said, I’m going to look into the median income more, to see how it varies across the different sectors of the economy. Are the job increases in the energy sector driving up that median income and is that where people like the Krugman’s of the world are getting their logic. I may be liberal but I hate being lied to about the data.

  329. SeaninWA says:

    @Ken — You’re incorrect about IT jobs in Texas being 30-40% less pay. I just checked Craigslist and the pay for the several jobs I commonly find in Spokane, WA, are approximately the same. The only difference is on the Spokane Craigslist there are only 6 jobs listed in the last 3 days and on the Texas Craigslist there ar 10-15 openings per day. I’m sorry but for this IT person, you lose this argument big time and my family is likely moving there to secure work, so suck it up, Texas has it going on for jobs and at the right price, too!

    If you were to read the article here you would see that the author explains why the unemployment has been increasing. As for property taxes, as a lot of people have lost their homes that not really an issue now is it. It won’t be for me as a renter and by having a job it makes it a lot easier to pay your property taxes now doesn’t it. Try living elsewhere and not having a job then having to pay your property taxes, yeah not as nice is it.

    As for gas prices, give me a freaking break, if you goto Google and type in: lowest gas prices Dallas (or Austin), and do the same for Spokane, you will see YOUR gas is CHEAPER than mine, you fool. Our streets have always been terrible, nothing new now either.

    You sir, have no clothes.

  330. CrowsMakeTools says:

    For capitalism to be successful, jobs need to generate not just income, but a surplus. A surplus allows people to either increase consumption beyond survival needs, or, if they are future-oriented and not prone to hyperbolic discounting, to invest.

    Jobs generate income. Good jobs generate enough income for people to meet their families needs, and also save and invest. When people are able to accumulate personal capital, they will become more conservative. People who are surviving, but not accumulating, have no reason to vote conservative. To be a fiscal conservative one has to have resources to conserve.

    One striking feature of the Texas economy is that, even as jobs are being created, personal capital is not. Texas ranks 10th in foreclosures, and 49th in personal credit scores. Texas ranks 9th in the income gap between the rich and poor, 5th in the gap between the wealthy and the middle class, and 44th in home ownership.

    There are many possible explanations for this. The point I would like to emphasize here is that an economy that is generating jobs at the same time it is generating greater disparities in income distribution is not providing the economic basis for popular support of it public policies.

    The data cited here can be found in the work of the Texas Legislative Study Group, Texas on the Brink

    I apologize for not drilling down into the primary sources, but sources for the evidence can be found in the footnotes of the report.

  331. Spencer Wilcox says:

    A – If you look at Texas’ job growth over the last 20 years, it shows that Rick Perry’s years as Governor were slightly below trend.

    B – Texas consumers and local investors did not have their spending/investing crimped by drops in their home prices (having passed through their own horrendous bubble in the 80’s).

    C – The claim that TX has created 40% of the jobs in the recovery is totally dependent on the starting point used. The starting point cited in the media is the absolute bottom for TX’s employment.

    D – Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts, Jon Huntsman’s Utah, and Tim Pawlenty’s Minnesota all have job pictures close to Texas’ (per capita), without the oil and gas direct and services economy, and with housing market ruptures.

  332. […] tip to Aaron Gardner on Twitter who pointed me to this post. You really have to read the whole post, but I will give you the punchline to get you excited about […]

  333. Mauricio says:

    I commend you on your work, but I think your analysis has a gaping hole, and i’d dispute one of your conclusions:

    The biggest drag on jobs nationally is from a depressed housing industry. Texas does not have this problem, mainly because they went through a terrible bust 20 years ago, and had since enacted regulations (yes, regulation!) that prevented the same level of insane, ninja-type lending common place everywhere else. Of course gov. Perry had nothing to do with this.

    Second, 25% growth just from energy IS huge. In fact per your findings I would conclude that claim is fair and true. Additionally, as a reader pointed out above, there is a multiplier effect. If 1 additional net local services job (1/100th of a hair dresser + 1/30th of a teacher + 1/50th of a shop clerk position, etc.) is gained by each additional 5 energy jobs, now you are at 30%. In other words, almost a third of Texas job gains are from high oil prices. If only other states were so lucky!

    Oh and forgive me if I sound a little bitter, but it’s also fair to point out that we in the other 49 are paying for those shiny new additional energy jobs every time we fill up our tanks at $4/gallon.

  334. […] here’s a detailed numerical analysis of the job picture in Texas, demonstrating why “Texas is adding […]

  335. yaron says:

    has it occurred to anyone that 700,000 people moving into a state means several hundred thousand housing units that need to be built, and that this means full employment is possible in the construction sector that is so depressed in the rest of the country ? or that having no state income tax attracts people, and businesses, period ? saw warren buffet on tv the other night…his idea was that the US could solve its unemployment problem simply by attracting half a million wealthy new immigrants who could afford to buy houses when they got here every year. thoughts, anyone ?

  336. bsaggie says:

    Taking GDP puts CA above TX, however when cost of living is factored in, CA is among the worst, and TX is 2nd best. This would indicate an even greater GDP difference is needed. http://www.costoflivingbystate.org/ TX still looks better.

  337. […] to a tweet from “Students for Perry” I found this blog post from the Political Math Blog showing that my wonderful home State, the Great State of Texas, has a very impressive record for […]

  338. JulietRomeo says:

    Another factor in Texas’ success: While we have a huge “colored” minority (black and brown) population compared with most states, we also have a very SMALL Jewish population. Compare all failing states with the proportion of Jews in the population.

  339. Billyjack says:

    Really good work but math is way beyond the Secular Socialist and MSM, because they “feel” that the jobs in Texas are low paying.

    Reality is that the oilfield although maybe not as a direct percentage of jobs is actually carrying alot more. Although in Midland,Texas people directly in the oilfield may only be 25% of the workforce, the other 75% wouldn’t be there without that. Although statewide we are well diversified without $100/bbl oil the numbers across the board would change dramatically.

  340. Sallie Henry says:

    Re: JulietRomeo – I’m sorry, but help me out here. What does being Jewish have to do with anything? You say “Another factor in Texas’ success: While we have a huge “colored” minority (black and brown) population compared with most states, we also have a very SMALL Jewish population. Compare all failing states with the proportion of Jews in the population.”

    To begin with, black and other dark skinned people are not “colored”. They were born that way. And, I still don’t “get” what the Jewish population (large or small) has to do with anything except ignorance.

  341. W Dorritie says:

    Policies create jobs when the policy is to get the heck out of the way.

  342. […] Perry has entered the presidential race, the debate over Texas’s true jobs numbers has begun. This will probably be required reading for anyone who wants to enter the […]

  343. Lauren says:

    I have a feeling, and no data, that the increase in wages has to do with an ever-widening income gap. As a member of the upper-middle class in Texas, I can assure you my wages aren’t going up, and I see plenty of low-wage jobs coming in. We are also chock-full of super-rich people, and it seems like those are the incomes going up. I’d like to see actual income distribution for new job creation as opposed to assuming that rising wages and increasing jobs means the new jobs are well-paying. Because I live here, and I am just not seeing that.

  344. […] caused me to conclude that he’s the man. What this is about is a recommendation to read a post at Political Math (ht. Marginal Revolution) which dissects the Texas job […]

  345. Jeramie says:

    I hope you got paid for all of your research. Thank you for loading my shotgun of truth!

  346. Linda B says:

    This seems to better explain the data to me. http://www.economicmodeling.com/2011/08/16/sizing-up-texas-job-growth-under-rick-perry/

    I’ve heard numbers that Perry had about 75,000 net job growth from 2009-2011 (115K public sector gained, 40K private sector lost). Is this the case?

  347. huckster says:

    It would be interesting to see what percentage of those flocking to Texas are illegal aliens or hispanic. When the construction industry dried up where I am there were trucks loaded down “okie” style headed South towards the border. If I were an immigrant in a country and I saw the economy there going to hell I’d do what I could to get close to my home country too. Arizona enacted a bunch of scary laws so that state was out.. Texas is the logical spot to stop and see if things corrected before making the final dash for the border.

  348. James Bowie says:

    “…Rick Perry is ancillary to the discussion…He was governor while these these numbers happened…”

    This is due to tax policy, Texas is a very pro-business state. Creating a pro-business environment, encourages companies to move to Texas or expand in Texas and thus creates more jobs in Texas.

    The point being that governments simply cannot “create” jobs, at least not ones that are sustainable. However governments can only create an environment that encourages private investment.

  349. Bob Rand says:

    Terrific article on the stats.
    As to the pol figures, if Perry didn’t, then Obama didn’t, etc. Pols have little to do with jobs. They simply take credit for what happens. A party system is based on irrational methods, so we don’t worry about a right-winger who says we needs to squash govt one day and the next, when he gains office, claims that all good comes from political action. Also “But more people = more consumers = more jobs.” If it worked that way my home state, California, might be in better shape. When I graduated HS it had ten million and now 40. Fast growth is very expensive in so many ways. Infrastructure and services can’t keep up & if you try the cost is overwhelming. If the immigrants are under-class this phenomenon is squared.

  350. tdvann says:

    Excellent analysis. Government does not create jobs. The best thing government can do is create an environment where business can florish or perish based on that business’s ability. When compared to the Central Planning of the Obama administration that hands out 1/2 billion dollars to Evergreen Solar (filed for bankruptcy two days ago). It is clear. Centalized government ONLY has the power to destroy and waste money.

  351. Janet Jackson says:

    Hummmm, let me guess, you are a Ron Paul fan

  352. Ron Jamel says:

    Seems no one undertands what “race to the bottom” means. Like the first athelete who used steroids forcing others to rush in to cover the move we have a furious race to the bottom. In the long term what happens at 0? Short-sightedness is not generally considered a virtue or path to success.

  353. […] – or the performance of the Texas economy during the Great Recession.  Matthew Shapiro has an epic post about the data, Jared Bernstein has two very important Keynes Goes to Texas posts (I, II) Kevin […]

  354. rufus levin says:

    The President NOR the governor can, per se, CREATE jobs. But their supported policies and economic focus on social services or private industry creation has a LOT to do with HINDERING job creation, slowing or frightening job creators from increasing employment opportunities, encouraging Capital Investment, Lending, and Private investors to support and fund growth a a business or industry group, and in a specific geographic or state domain.

    If Perry has governed as Ann Richards did….Texas would be in the tank with other liberal states.
    If Obama governed like Ronald Reagan to support private enterprise….the USA would not be in terrible debt.

    That BUSH did not destroy Texas with massive unfunded spending while HE was Governor is the MIRACLE and likely if he HAD, Perry would have never become Governor. Bush set the pace for Obama’s presidential environment, and Obama and his campaign team were too busy getting elected to notice the clear signs of WHAT THEY WERE HEADED INTO….thus, he was totally unprepared by experience or with the experience of his selected administrative teams to cope with a sinking economic ship.

  355. Philip says:

    Unemployment figures don’t count discouraged job seekers. When there is job growth, people come back into the job market and actually increase the unemployment stats temporarily. The fact that TX is maintaining a robust job market and low unemployment means there are fewer discouraged job seekers. The stats are even better than they appear.

  356. Alex Adrianson says:

    Hey, Political Math Guy,

    I’m going to violate your injunction about having the data, but only because you’ve offered a hypothesis that isn’t backed up by any data: that people are moving to Texas in search of jobs, not because they have a job offer in hand.

    If your hypothesis were true, it would imply that Texas unemployment rate would be lower if not for all those new people looking for jobs, too. You even created a chart to illustrate that point. But wait, why did all these people move there in the first place? Didn’t they read in the news that there are some 20 other states with lower unemployment rates?

    Don’t you think a more plausible explanation is that Texas’s favorable business climate has induced a lot of new companies to move there, and those companies have either brought their employees with them, or they have recruited out of state because the local labor force lacks the skills they want?

    If that is the explanation, then Texas’s unemployment rate is helped, not hurt by the influx of these new folks. They increase the size of the labor force without increasing the number of unemployed.

    I agree that Texas job creation record is a credit to good policies and Rick Perry deserves credit for, if nothing else, not messing up good policies that were already in place. But I don’t think that record that needs to be embellished by implausible counterfactuals.

  357. Marcus says:

    Hi Lauren,

    Your concerns with the income data would be valid if the author used a ‘mean’ average of incomes whih is the normal average we use in our daily livres. That would mean if the rich are getting riher it would pull up the average wage numbers. However, he used a ‘median’ average. A median is you take everyones wage, line it up from lowest to highest, and if thier are 1 million jobs, you pick the 500,000th one and that is your median wage. This means that if he rich are gettin riche or the poor are getting poorer, it doesnt effect our average. So the rich getting richer doesnt explain the high median wage in Texas.

    Your anecdotal evidence is valuable, but at best it isnt a picure of the overall Scene in texas. Maybe some industries arent doing so hot like yours while others are booming.

    The author did a little research into energy jobs booming, but what other industries are booming in texas?

  358. donald ballew says:

    Remember the housing/economic crash in 2008. Started in 1990 by Frank/Dodd/Clinton/ Acorn(Obama) They forced lenders to get people into homes they couldn’t afford. Housing catastrophe! Economic crash!
    Before that we had: Nine eleven 2001. War in Iraq and Afghanistan. MSNBC and most of the so called elite media blamed Bush. After 9-11-2001 we needed to do something mean to someone. Would have been hard to stop the Iraq war. Obama and McCain ran the 2008 presidential race campaigning against Bush. Obama won but has never worked at anything so doesn’t know how to run a large country. It shows. Our nation can be made whole again but Obama seems bent on crashing our economic system. He may do that. So we may not survive him.

  359. noitand says:

    Some of the arguments, especially the segway into comments about Obama contain specious logic. I think the most important fact, mentioned several times here and no doubt accurate, is the timing of the recession: December, 2007. This is the clearest indication of anything in the entire article and yet no mention is made of its implications:
    Obama did not take office until January, 2008. The recession and subsequent sliggish economy and job growth are the product of 8 years of Republican policies.

  360. […] a Texan, I couldn’t help but share this blog post about the Texas jobs numbers that is deservedly getting a lot of play in the […]

  361. bill says:

    Take away the jobs in Dr. Ron Paul’s district and Perry would still suck!

  362. […] Are the Texas jobs really just an illusion made up of nothing but oil jobs and minimum wage work? Matthias Shapiro took a long look at the various claims being made about Texas jobs. Here’s a sample of what […]

  363. […] Are the Texas jobs really just an illusion made up of nothing but oil jobs and minimum wage work? Matthias Shapiro took a long look at the various claims being made about Texas jobs. Here’s a sample of what […]

  364. Justin says:

    Texas is gaining jobs for many of the same reasons our nation is losing jobs – Texas has a low-tax, low-regulation business environment that is largely non-union workers. No personal income tax, property tax rates and red tape fees for home building are low. Putting it as plainly as possible, Texas is business friendly while Congress and the White House have become absolutely hostile to businesses, as have the local state government in many “Blue” states.

    Big Government, Big Regulation Socialism fails, once again.

    You can try and spin the numbers to tell a different story, but you’d know you’re lying as you were trying to do so. When I sold my home in Dallas, it was to a guy from California. We talked a bit at closing, and he was leaving and bringing his business with him because, in his own words, “The idiots in the California government simply do not want my business to succeed.”

    Go figure.

  365. […] have forked out, his record there is tough to oppose with. This gathering of information during Political Math is a many compelling. There are several takeaways: 1.) Jobs are “growing over twice as quick as a […]

  366. Hello, I was referred here by stryck.livejournal.com. Interesting statistics here. OK to post a link on my Weebly?

  367. Jim says:

    Nice work. I’ve read that the biggest attraction for TX migrants is the low cost of living. So $15.41/hour ($600/wk) median income may be okay for 1/2 the workers in TX and only a few other low cost states. Low living costs may correlate to the absence of a housing bubble. It would be useful to see a distribution of wages by percent of jobs just to be sure nothing is being missed e.g. the preponderance of the lower 50% of the workers have minimum wage jobs. U also indicated that TX is 5th in wage growth. My concern is still valid regardless if this measures median, average or total wages.

  368. Worshack says:

    @Lauren: A widening income gap won’t move the median much, if at all. Texas still has a great median wage, so the number of low income jobs that are being produced must be balanced by the number of higher income jobs, in a 1:1 proportion, or the median would be falling (or rising).

  369. Varecia says:

    Justin, that is simply not consistent with the periods of the greatest widespread prosperity in this country. It is a conservative pipe dream, a myth that just won’t be laid to rest.

  370. John says:

    Just wondering if you can point out better which state is represented by which lines, etc. on your charts. All the different lines and similar colors make it hard to tell which line belongs to which state. Otherwise, great analysis!

  371. Varecia says:

    So the “real story” on Texas is that there is increased consumer demand which increases the need for jobs and employees, and so on. That scenario can be achieved in several ways, however. In this instance, people relocating to Texas from other areas that were relatively worse off, whether Texas was or is all that great in itself or not, is fueling that increased demand. It can also be achieved via government stimulus that creates jobs and thereby creates employees with income to spend, thereby creating increased demand. The real story is that there isn’t just one way to stimulate an economy.

  372. Yuchen says:

    I have to pause a moment and really think about your comments on energy sector jobs. It seems that you did not take the proper accounting of the energy sector and the ancillary jobs that are created to support the industry. That is, energy investment in Texas is high, there are jobs created directly because of this. These jobs have ancillary services that directly and indirectly support that sector. In addition, those jobs then support services that are non energy related but are created because of the energy jobs i.e housing jobs, restaurants, road building, retail, appliances etc… All those are created because the energy jobs were there. I think you need to give more weight to why they have been created which is because of the energy and the way that the energy market has progressed over the last decade. [North Dakota is also one of the lucky recipients of the energy sector growth over the last decade or so. Their unemployment has been so low because people have not flocked to ND the way they have to Texas – so they do not have the issue that you have seen in Texas

  373. Varecia says:

    And Justin, doesn’t Texas actually have strict regulation regarding mortgages?

  374. […] gurus have pointed out, his record there is hard to quibble with. This compilation of data at Political Math is the most compelling. There are several takeaways: 1.) Jobs are “growing over twice as […]

  375. Andrew in San Diego says:

    Mr. Shapiro,

    Great analysis. You are doing to to “policital scientists” what Steven McIntyre is doing to “climate scientists”. Keep up the good work.

  376. Snorpht Fingerpoot says:

    What a load of squat flop.

  377. Snorpht Fingerpoot says:

    Poo my munky flattus face.

  378. endorendil says:

    “If this were true, all these new low-paying jobs should be dragging down the wages data, right? ”

    Looks like it’s not just socialists and MSM that have issues with math. The median is not affected directly when vast numbers of low-paying jobs are added. In fact it is quite possible to have the median go up while all the job growth is at minimum wage – they refer to entirely different sections of the work force. The average wage might be affected more easily, unless there is an offsetting growth in the highest wages. In the end, statements on the quality of the created jobs can only be evaluated by looking at the wage distribution, and how it changes in time.

    To answer your fair call for data, here it is. I compared BLS data on “State Cross-Industry estimates” from “May 2010 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates” with “2001 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates”. I believe annual wages to be more informative as they include changes in hours worked, so the comparison is on the fields a_wpct10 in the 2001 sheet and a_pct10 in the 2010 sheet. It shows that for the lowest 10%, annual wages went from 13,160 to 16,620. Using the BLS inflation calculator, this is a 2 percent increase over almost a decade. I think we can say that for low age earners in Texas, there has not been a wage raise.

    Now, as to whether the new jobs have been dominated by low wage earners, we just have to look up the wage scale. Comparing the bottom 25% average annual wage (a_wpct25 and a_pct25), we see a change from 16,730 to 20,150. Correcting for deflation we see that this corresponds to a *decrease* in the average annual wage of about 2%. This clearly indicates that there has been a significant increase in the number of low-wage jobs, replacing higher paying jobs within the bottom 25%.

    Summarizing, the data shows that low wage jobs pay a little better, but that higher paying jobs have been replaced with lower paying ones. The net effect is that the bottom quartile of workers is making less in 2010 than it did in 2001.

  379. jk says:

    Excellent work. Thank you very much.

  380. […] the political rhetoric heats up there will be increasing scrutiny placed upon the Texas jobs story. There are several ways to formulate Texas’ contribution to […]

  381. Chris says:

    I wish you had labeled the vertial axis on each of your graphs. It is hard to judge the accuracy of your conclusions when the numbers in the charts don’t have units assigned. It seems like you know what you are talking about, but I really can’t say for sure. It is difficult to draw accurate conclusions with statistics because the analysis of the numbers is so tricky. I’m not saying that statistics have no value, but careful presentation of data can easily obscure the truth. Graphs that show no units are very suspicious. As an engineer, when I see a graph without units, it really jumps out at me. I am reminded of the saying about how there are lies, damned lies, and statistics. May the reader beware.

  382. Dianna Kinkead says:

    Reminds me of the old adage I learned in Statistics 101: “Figgers don’t lie, but liars can and do figger.”

  383. LM says:

    Thanks for the info! We moved to Texas a year ago for a 100k private sector job and I have met a lot of people moving here making about the same. So there are definitely good paying jobs being created. With no income tax, good public schools and low housing prices, it is a huge draw. Our house is the same size but is 200k less than our old house. Also, there are lower food costs compared to other places that I’ve lived (I’ve lived in 4 different major metro areas around the country)

  384. Frank says:

    You devalued the impact of energy sector jobs on raising the hourly average making Texas look like it is getting higher paying jobs beyond the energy sector. The average energy sector job pays over 30$ an hour. If 75% of jobs pay 10$ an hour and the other 25% of jobs are 30$ an energy jobs you get the good sound 15$ an hour average. When the reality is outside of the energy sector the new jobs do not pay well. Also, Texas did retain more public sector jobs during the economic downturn than other states, government jobs tend to pay better than private sector (not factoring in education) which helps to make the hourly average in Texas look better than other states.

  385. Austin_Libertarian says:

    Great article. But still nothing to show that Perry was more than just the guy who happened to be in office at the time. Did he have a killer idea on top of existing policy which kicked job growth into high gear since 2007? Doubtful. Americans need to wise-up. The hero movement is over. There is no Superman who’s going to fly in to save the day, and certainly Perry is not woven of that cloth because he has not done anything in the way of thought-leadership or anything else to redefine the game. Just being the guy who was in-charge while things were going well isn’t enough, and if Americans are dumb enough to support him or anyone like him for President, then we deserve all the misery that is derived from such thinking.

  386. MarkT says:

    Well done analysis. I was expecting, due to the preface, another slanted hack job/meme of the week. After reading your anaysis, and looking at the raw data, I bookmarked your site and will reference it along with Shadow Stats.

    Keep up the good work.

  387. […] Obama. Whereas Obama has apparently run the national economy into the ground, Perry’s Texas seems to be doing fairly well, especially in the crucial arena of unemployment numbers, where Texas is a huge outlier amongst the […]

  388. Demosthenes says:

    “Obama did not take office until January, 2008. The recession and subsequent sliggish economy and job growth are the product of 8 years of Republican policies.”

    Ladies and gentlemen, another well-informed Obama voter. I spot two very obvious problems with the above —

    #1: In January 2008, noitand, Barack Obama was a senator from Illinois who had just won the Iowa caucus. He became president in January 2009, roughly two and a half months after he conspired with John McCain and Sarah Palin to steal the Hope Diamond from the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.

    (Actually, I think that last part may have just been something the South Park guys made up.)

    #2: From January 2007 until January 2011, both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives were under Democratic control. Therefore, they had a significant hand in the “policies” of the government during that time, including some that may have contributed to our “sliggish economy.” And the Democrats, as you may have noticed, are not themselves Republicans. They actually take quite a bit of pride in it — Lord knows why.

    It’s just a pity that my vote’s primary utility is to cancel out yours.

  389. John Noble says:

    Economic prosperity is based on staying within the boundaries of and respect for natural law (God’s law, which grants certain inalienable rights as delineated in our Declaration of Independence). That means government gets out of the way making itself almost unnoticeable, just the opposite of what we have in our federal government, and what Texas must guard against in its state government. Statistics can be arbitrary and almost meaningless. Better to focus on whether our state and local governments are in compliance with natural law and the decentralized system that the original colonies operated under for 180 years prior to 1787 when they finally agreed to unite under the U.S. Constitution with the stipulation that Fedzilla would be put on the short leash of Article 1, Section 8, and that States Rights trumped federal rights. In my opinion Texas has been blessed IN SPITE of a lot of unconstitutional federal intervention, AND because God has protected us IN SPITE of Rick Perry and the other RINOS who run this state. The recent legislative session is testimony to how the newly elected representatives who gave Republicans the majority in the House, and were predominantly Tea Party representatives, had their Bills gutted or trashed by the old guard (RINOS) who loaded up the committees with liberals. The important changes that our newly elected representatives sought to make to State policies such as closing the borders, cutting off social services, education, medical and Social Security benefits to illegal immigrants, and other important matters were destroyed under the leadership of Governor Rick Perry, Lt. Governor Dewhurst and their chief attack dog Speaker Joe Strauss. Texas knows Rick Perry quite well. The rest of the country hasn’t had to endure 12 years of unfulfilled promises and watching him comb his hair. Why should we expect him to do anything differently if he becomes President?

  390. […] not be impressed, but the Texas economy has boomed while the rest of the country has stalled, as this analysis shows. But can Perry take credit for it? Not necessarily. Megan McArdle is skeptical. Jason Sorens […]

  391. Raj says:

    Jared Bernstein (a very reputable economist) has this to say on the topic of gov’t jobs provided by Texas: http://bit.ly/q1sQeg

    His source seems to be the same as yours (the BLS) but the stories are very different…any reason for this discrepancy?

  392. […] Although Texas has seen a big rise in low-wage service jobs, it hasn’t all been clerks and burger flippers. Average wages in Texas have gone up pretty strongly over the past few years. Median hourly wages in Texas are about average, but they’ve risen at the sixth-highest rate in the country since 2008. […]

  393. […] Coupled with the attacks on Perry are attacks on Texas, which has done well during the ten years that Perry has been governor. This writer, who I’ve watched off and on for a couple of years, has a detailed analysis of the… […]

  394. MikeTimes says:

    As an unabashed, antiquated patriot, I would like to add my appreciation to the others. You perform a great service for your country and it encourgaes me that some out there are still trying to find the truth and think. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You.

  395. crazymuffyhead says:

    I have a very close friend who is a geologist and has been in the “oil business” for many years. He recently had to file for bankruptcy… this is why.

    I requested a few million dollard from the DOE. (can’t remember maybe 3-4 million) to help him drill for oil that he says he knows is abundant in an area of Texas. The DOE as in Department of ENERGY strung him along for a year +. amd then finally told him, “We don’t loan money to oil.” Funny, huh? because Obama makes oil deals with Brazil and Argentina to drill in OUR waters and then promises to buy back the oil from them…. but our own energy department cannot make a loan of a relatively minor amount to encourage a small businessman with a fine reputation and history.

    I asked my friend about Shell, Exon, etc and he said they will not take a teeny risk to produce a HUGE profit for themselves. They want the small guy to take the risk but will be happy to profit once that risk shows results. This has been such a tragic situation. They did not have to file bankruptcy because of overspending on their personal spending habits but because they were a small business trying to survive. The small businessman is frequently the loser. Such a shame.

  396. All The Facts, Please! says:

    This analysis seems flawed by relying on some logical fallacies and by omitting the effects of some highly relevant economic facts and principles. Here’s a rough first pass:

    1. Logical Fallacy: How can the current U.S. president be responsible for poor job growth across the country due to federal policies but in Texas these same influences don’t apply. Is this the power of prayer or black magic at work in Texas? Of course this is nonsense; if the current president has implemented such bad policies, Texas would be just as badly impacted as other states.

    2. Logical Fallacy: If every state implemented the same pro-business or low-cost policies you suggest are at play in the Texas job numbers (deregulation, taxes and cost of living), there would be no more Texas advantage. So there is a clear logical fallacy that the good Governor Perry could create any advantage for the country as a whole, unless there is some evidence that Texas job growth is driven by stronger international competitiveness while paying higher-than-average wages as you claim Texas is doing. Stronger international competitiveness requires lower wages for manufacturing and non-skilled jobs. There is simply no plausible way to override this fact of international competition.

    3. Logical Fallacy: You present no evidence to substantiate any role other than the luck of having oil deposits at a time of record high oil prices and the luck of being a huge state with millions of acres of undeveloped land to keep housing costs low.

    4. Material Omission: You ignore any numeric analysis of the hugely relevant and obvious facts that there is a significant multiplier effect created by higher-wage energy sector jobs, which you estimate comprise 25% of the job growth enjoyed by Texas in recent years. A modest estimated multiplier of 1.5 jobs resulting from every higher paying energy-sector job is reasonable based on well respected economic analyses (links ***), yielding a more accurate number of 35% of Texas job growth due to a booming oil industry.

    5. Logical Fallacy: This 35% share of new jobs (in the Texas engergy sector) results from record high international oil prices, which has hugely more to do with communist China’s economic policies than the economic policies of the U.S. president or of any state’s governor, including Texas.

    6. Material Omission: To the extent that higher oil prices are paid by consumers and business in all states, other states suffer from an out-migration of billions of dollars to Texas as well as oil-producing countries, depressing money available for consumption spending and driving their job growth numbers lower. In relative terms, this makes the Texas numbers comparatively better than other states.

    7. Material Omission: You ignore any numerical analysis of the hugely relevant and obvious fact that there is also a significant multiplier effect created by the large number of workers migrating to Texas from other states with their household wealth and (mostly federal-deficit funded) unemployment insurance benefits. You cite the fact that hundreds of thousands of job-seeking workers have moved to Texas from other states but don’t research/estimate how many are collecting Unemployment Benefits paid by their home states and/or the federal government. If 200,000 workers collecting unemployment for a year have moved to Texas, using the average national rate of unemployment of $300/week (****), there’s a windfall to Texas of $60 million/week or $3 BILLION dollars of consumption spending added to the Texas enconomy each year, much of it funded by federal (deficit) spending. In effect, Texas easily has a largely federally funded below-the-radar stimulus package of $3 billion per year in unemployment benefits alone, while other states are losing the benefit of this same $3 billion per year from their local economies, depressing their relative job numbers further. In addition, how much household wealth has followed these workers to Texas and been spent there, given that the unemployed often are forced to spend their savings on living expenses. An estimate of one new job for every four unemployed workers migrating to Texas is reasonable; using these numbers that’s 50,000 new jobs out of the 400,000 new jobs cited, which is 12.5% of the Texas job growth.

    SUMMARY: Texas has not only benefited from record high international oil prices, but also has benefited from the economic effects of population migration from other states, which in turn have suffered from these same two factors (higher oil prices and labor migrations). So, while Texas gets a boost from these factors, other states’ economies necessarily have suffer in this largely zero-sum-game environment of almost no growth in the overall national economy of the United States.

    Much of what is happening in the Texas numbers compared with other states is really no different from what happens when one city lures a business to relocate from another city in the same state with whatever incentives they want to provide. The end result for the state is lower tax revenues but no new jobs, even though one city comes out ahead of the others when comparing the numbers.

    Am I missing something?

  397. […] Shapiro has done some great analysis. Head over to Political Math and check it out. Rick Perry And Texas Job Numbers « Political Math. […]

  398. Demosthenes says:

    In response to the hilariously-misnamed “All the Facts, Please!” who asks:

    “Am I missing something?

    Quite a bit, actually.

    Your #1 misses the crucial element of local control. The effects of President Obama’s policies are felt nationwide — but that doesn’t mean Governor Perry doesn’t have an influence either. If you strapped 5-pound weights to my legs, and also strapped 5-pound weights to Usain Bolt’s legs, and then set us in a race against each other, our being equally hampered doesn’t mean we would perform equally poorly. He’d still smoke me.

    Your #2 rests on the flawed assumption that the economic pie can’t grow. If every state enacted pro-business policies, Texas might not be quite as well off comparatively…but everyone might well be better off in the long run.

    As to #3 — granted, Texas is the beneficiary of some happy circumstances. You know, though, there are some other states who have the same advantage of a lot of land and an abundance of natural resources. Yet for some reason, California doesn’t seem to be doing quite as well as Texas. I’m sure that has nothing to do with governance, though…

    You provide no support for your amusing contention in #4. So I’ll let that rest.

    #5 and #6 may well be true…but so what? So Texas is reacting to a situation out of their control by taking advantage of their natural resources that would be an advantage in that situation, and as a result their economy is being given a shot in the arm. I’d call that a sign of good governance myself. You come to bury Perry, and yet here you are praising him. Meanwhile, the federal government is making it very difficult to build up that same industry…I’ll let you figure out the implications on your own…

    As to #7, you of course have no citations to support your figures. But the concept seems correct. But again, what’s your point? Texas is creating jobs. Other places aren’t. So Texas gets the benefit of people voting with their feet, and their dollars, which tends to sustain and improve the existing climate. If other states wanted to keep their workers, they might consider following Texas’s lead. Consider how much trouble it is to move…especially when you’re not sure of a job on the other end. Why would people be moving from all over the country if they saw no advantage to it? Their moving may help fuel the Texas economy, but it’s also a testimonial to the opportunities that were already here. As snowballs roll down a mountainside, they tend to pick up both momentum and snow — the latter of which accelerates their momentum, yes. But just saying “Oh, that thing wouldn’t be moving NEARLY as fast if it hadn’t picked up all that extra snow!” is to miss the point by a Texas mile.

    But this may be my favorite comment of yours:

    “Much of what is happening in the Texas numbers compared with other states is really no different from what happens when one city lures a business to relocate from another city in the same state with whatever incentives they want to provide. The end result for the state is lower tax revenues but no new jobs, even though one city comes out ahead of the others when comparing the numbers.”

    Left out of your scenario is the possibility that the company could use the advantages gained from incentives to further invest in their new community, This might well have the effect of creating more jobs and more prosperity in the medium-term than would have been the case had the business not switched cities. Again, the economy is not a zero-sum game when we look past the short term.

    Ah, Keynesians. The multiplier effect only applies when you want it to, I guess.

  399. Jeannette says:

    “Segue”, not “Segway”.

  400. Kev says:

    Nice correlative argument, but you show absolutely no causation. What did Perry do specifically to cause this? Show me the impact in your numbers at a certain point in time in which legislation that HE ENACTED or had pass and the change in those numbers pre and post and I’ll start to believe. What you’ve shown me could be caused by a number of different things. People could be flocking to Texas for the weather for crying out loud.

  401. tommy says:

    You, sir,(to use a technical term) are a fucking genius.

    p.s. I’m from Texas. If you want to know why our economy is bumping without the numbers, shoot me an email. I am a headhunter and have recruited 7 of those new Texas employees from Louisiana, Illinois, Indiana, Virginia, and Ohio this year. Yee Haw!

  402. Herp N. Derpington says:

    And what of the notion that the private sector jobs being created are actually just jobs relocated from other parts of the country (i.e. a company moving HQ or an office from, say OH to TX)? How does this factor in to the growth numbers? I ask because it seems that that couldn’t really be called growth, perhaps reallocation. Sure it looks good for Texas but calling that job creation seems a bit disingenuous.

  403. Linda B says:

    I left a comment, charts and source but you failed to post. Why?

  404. Randy M says:

    Herp–that’s an interesting point, but it wouldn’t invalidate the comparrison for the purposes of asking “What kind of policy environment do businesses think that they will thrive in?”

    Kev–Doesn’t look like you read the post. The author doesn’t care about Perry–only pointing out that anyone saying Texas is not doing exceptionally well is wrong.

  405. richard holmes says:

    Any politician can-and does say many things that may shine a positive light on them. What is the differencs in what he says and does that is much different than the next blow hard? It all depends on how you want to look at it and what you ascertain from the analysis of the material.

  406. Dave says:


    The author mentions that this presentation was about dispelling myths and talking points about how the Texas economy isn’t as rosey as Perry is claiming. It has nothing to do with attributing the economic successes to Perry.


    Relocation of jobs is a sign of growth because it means more jobs are in Texas, regardless of where they came from. It is job creation because when dealing with the micro (Texas) versus the macro (the US as a whole) there are jobs being created in a state while others are losing those same jobs. The reason you can credit Texas for this is because there must be a REASON why these jobs are moving to Texas? Availabilty of labor, cost of living, cost of doing business, friendlier regulatory and tax climate for businesses?

    Some of these issues may be due to policies enacted by the Texas legislature, some of them may be circumstantial, or perhaps some are simply providence.

  407. Allen says:

    What about the pure number od companies is Texas? Is it not true that it has more fortune 500 companies than the rest of the US? Also Texas is more affordable to live then other states. Again I don’t think any of it has to do with Perry it would be interesting to see policies Perry put in place and then direct data from policies.

  408. Brad says:

    I would like to know the ethnicity of these “Texas Transplants”. Many states have reported an exodus of Latinos due to the lack of jobs in their states and recent legislation to discourage or even deport illegals. What percentage of these 739,000 are actually illegals on their way back across the border or moving in with family located in Texas. After all, Mexico now enjoys an unemployment rate of only 4.9% and a standard of living including health, education and per capita income –that is now higher than those in Russia, China and India, according to the United Nations.

  409. Paula Lares says:

    I’m not a fan of Rick Perry. It’s almost suffocating to think he will be my choice vs Obama. I’m sick of holding my nose to vote for the Lesser of Two Evils. So, having dispensed with my bona fides, I’d like to point out that Rick Perry has not obstructed Texas’ job creating environment any more than the legislation has allowed him. We have far too many RINOs in our state government but enough true fiscal conservatives that we’ve kept progressivism at bay. Governments do NOT create jobs, neither do their Executives. Obama has blocked the USA’s job creating environment. It goes back before Obama, though. The Free Market system that brought about the innovation and creativity of America has been eroded since Progressivism began making inroads with Harding. Perry has overseen a state that has resisted this form of government more than most other states. That’s his claim to fame.

    Thanks for putting my state’s data into perspective. I don’t have a problem with folks coming down here for jobs. I would like to remind them though, that not only are they leaving their state to come to OURS, but they need to leave their bad voting decisions back there, too. Texas is a state of mind, after all.

  410. I’ve spent the morning reading articles and blogs and comments about how Rick Perry has and has not affected jobs in Texas. This is the best one so far.

    Bill Clinton didn’t create the jobs boom of the 1990s. Al Gore did when he invented the Internet.

    George W. Bush didn’t create the housing bubble of the 2000s. Barney Frank, Bill Clinton, Phil Graham, Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke did when they pushed no money down, no documentation liar loans on mortgage bankers and even on consumers.

    But Obama certainly has killed jobs with his scary anti-business talk and regulations that have sent consumers into fetal positions and employers to the bank to count the coins on their balance sheets.

    What’s ironic is that Big Intrusive Government Republicans and Democrats —Perry, Romney, Bachmann and Obama — are claiming they can create jobs while they seem to be unwilling to create the economic environment we need to stimulate consumer spending and private sector growth.

  411. James R. Schaefer says:

    A good read — thanks
    Next time you might want to use numbers instead of colors on your curves.

  412. kc says:

    Moved to fl from ca 2 years ago, drove thru Tx 3 times. Each time I commented about all the building and road work going on. The highways were planted and cut, shopping malls were being built, road workers were out. No other state did we see this in. The restaurants were busy and people were energetic. I told my hubby there is a lot going on in Tx they are not broke here. This is where our son in law should look for work. Not a scientific poll but just noticed the difference.

  413. […] not be impressed, but the Texas economy has boomed while the rest of the country has stalled, as this analysis shows. But can Perry take credit for it? Not necessarily. Megan McArdle is skeptical. Jason Sorens […]

  414. Suzanne says:

    I was a senior manager in a Dallas-based company from ’97 to ’10 and can offer the following insights to your numbers:
    – Texas has a huge base of well-paying federal jobs stretching from El Paso to Ft. Hood and Houston. You can look for the exact number, but Texas receives over $1.25 in fed funds for every dollar of fed tax it pays. And Texas metroplexes are awash in companies sucking on the teats of DoD, DHS, FAA, you name it. Texas is the last state that wants “small government,” but I don’t think they have figured that out yet.
    – Because of great corporate tax rates and municipal incentives, corporate decision-makers often find the decision to relocate to Texas a no-brainer. Add that there is practically no union force, a bountiful supply of well-qualified workers–mostly from outside of Texas’ education system, which sucks–and low real estate costs, and viola, you have the Texas jobs dream macine.
    – Texas is leading the nation in “Chinafying” their economy. It’s all just about the economy. While wages are good, there were fewer and fewer companies offering (good) healthcare, retirement or educational benefits. I would also love to know how many out-of-work Texas residents are no longer shown on the rolls. Unemployment benies in Texas are minimal. Texas universities are fabulously funded and they are bringing up generations of idiot savants in all fields of financial and technical economic endeavor. But few workers know squat about anything beyond their field of expertise and, of course, football/golf/baseball/basketball. This makes them easy to lead, by the way.
    – The state has terrible air and water standards, it defines the terms noise and light pollution, and the place is being plastered with ever more 10-lane highways. It has high cancer rates compared to the nation as a whole. Its lack of care for the environment is culturally engrained–Texans really don’t give a damn about the environment. Personally, it was clear to me that the south and southwest will not be able to sustain the population that is there now for long. I get visions of the US version of Somalia in a couple decades at the latest. But they are having a hell of a ride for now.

  415. vgn says:

    Great analysis. I’m an engineer in Texas. How about some visualization of the cost of living differences amongst states (taxes included)? My suburban 3500 sq ft house is appraised at $300K and my 30 acre farm with small house is $150K. Having lived in other states, I know my money goes much further here. Even my born and raised Colorado husband won’t consider leaving Texas anymore (and Coloradoans do not like Texans!)

  416. Joe Estep says:

    Thank you. I started to try what you have done, not enough time nor patience, I love it when there are links to back up statements.

  417. I agree with what Kev said. If you go to the link you provided and get the same chart you provided, but increase the date range to maximum, you will see that Texas has been on the same employment trajectory since 1976. Neither Bush, Perry, nor Anne Richards (rest her gracious soul) nor any other legislator in Texas has done anything to increase nor decrease this trajectory. I’m not exactly sure what’s responsible for this, but I will say that a great many packaged goods corporations are based in Texas, as well as the oil industry. Both of these industries have seen record profits in the past 40 years or so. Those profits had little to do with domestic policy and more to do with global expansion.
    But I do appreciate the work you’ve put into this. It has given me food for thought.

  418. […] PoliticalMath: Rick Perry and Texas Job Numbers […]

  419. Richard Giles says:

    Sir: you are a gentleman and a scholar. This is a great presentation even though it did take me a few readings of it to make sure that I understand it.

    Thank you.

  420. Dave P says:

    Finally, an analysis based on facts, not spin. Personally, I don’t care what party, what governor or President is in our out, just give me the results straight up. Wish others would do the same.

  421. […] Rick Perry And Texas Job Numbers | Political Math […]

  422. Diane says:

    This looks very well done. The only question I have is whether enough credit is given to the impact of the energy industries. Alberta may not be a very good comparison because, although it’s a Texas wannabe, it’s much smaller and probably has a less diverse economy. However, the oil industry there generates so much wealth that it affects the whole economy, benefits every business, and the government too. This is because it creates extremely high paying jobs and numerous wealthy people who, in turn, spend their money on all manner of goods and services. And, the government can afford to provide services with a lower tax rate because it also reaps the benefit of the wealth generated by the oil industry. Alberta is doing fine in spite of the crisis, and, remarkably, all of Canada is doing quite well also. Growth is traditionally slower in Canada than in the US and unemployment is normally higher. Not so right now.

  423. Justin Taillon says:

    Yes, job creation is happening in Texas. But “Job Creation” means very little as a statistic. In what you posted above I get the impression you are providing “Job Creation” as evidence of a positive outlook for Texas, although you make it clear you are not endorsing Perry. The above are only half-statistics. There is no full picture provided. “Job Creation” certainly should not be used as a stand-alone indicator of the economic wellness of a region. Personally, I have three favorite indicators of economic well-being (I am an Economics professor, so I’m not clueless here): Gini Coefficient, percent living below the poverty level for a given area, & Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness.

    1. Gini Coefficient – Texas is 48th of 50 states for Gini and if it were stil a country it would be most like Ivory Coast in regards to Gini. Here are two links to prove my point: http://texaspolitics.laits.utexas.edu/12_3_0.html and https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/fields/2172.html

    2. Poverty Level – I did consulting work for WIA (Workforce Investment Act) for urban areas in the state of Texas, and the poverty in our state is embarrassing. 18% of the state is living under the poverty level and 40% has lived under the poverty level within the past 10 years. No first world country should pass 3-5%, let alone 18%! Here’s a link: http://www.star-telegram.com/2010/09/16/2474711/more-texans-living-in-poverty.html

    3. I am a HUGE fan of Gross National Happiness (yes, this is a real term and is professional /academic). Isn’t happiness what we should concern ourselves with? There are some miserable rich people dammit. I have never found statistics specifically for the state of Texas. It is a huge undertaking, so I haven’t completed my study yet. But, I do know enough about Texas and GNH to know we’re not well. Here are two links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gross_national_happiness and http://www.gnhusa.org/

  424. bw says:

    You haven’t presented any facts here. You’ve presented graphs without clearly identifying your data sources. The pages you link to are not data sets — they are pages containing tons of different data sets. Who knows what you are using.

    Here’s a report from the BLS.


    It says that the median hourly wage in Texas is substantially below the national average. It says that the % of workers making minimum wage or below has substantially increased post-recession.

    I’ll trust the BLS over some internet blogger, thank you.

  425. Steve H says:

    Thank you for an excellent blog. My son recommended this link and you have answered many potential questions that the main stream media hasn’t even thought of.

    My guess is that Texas, as mentioned above is something of a state of mind. The voters having that state of mind have constantly elected a different sort of legislator and executive branch ( who have no doubt appointed a different sort of Judiciary) over an extended period. I suspect that is the genesis of the “Perry Miracle”. I hope that Perry is more Texas than Bush was, when he got into office his Conn. roots were showing.

    I can’t believe that Perry is the best we will have on offer this cycle, but so far he seems to be.

  426. bdbd says:

    I’m not sure how “oil and gas and related industries” was defined, but if you take the Natural Gas folks seriously, a job in that industry is (broadly) associated with about 3 additional jobs in the economy. So “25% of new jobs in Oil and Gas” is not inconsistent with most new jobs being associated with oil and gas, broadly speaking. (I realize economic impact studies should be taken with a lot of salt). http://www.anga.us/media/40995/us%20economy.pdf

  427. John says:

    I live in Texas and I agree that Texas’ economy when judged by jobs alone is in relatively good shape. I would also say, at a minimum, that Rick Perry hasn’t screwed things up on the economic front (the same thing I would say about Bill Clinton during his oversight of a booming economy). However, the state of an economy must be judged by more than merely the number of jobs created.

    A good report to look at in this regard is the following: http://shapleigh.org/news/882-senator-shapleigh-releases-texas-on-the-brink-how-texas-ranks-among-the-50-states

    This report (albeit from 2007 still holds true) notes such statistics as Texas being second in the nation in terms of income inequality and first in the nation in the number of uninsured children. Several other statistics that in many respects are a function of a low tax, low regulation state are listed in the report.

    You might also note that Texas is failing in almost every regard to pay for its growth. The mere fact that Texas borrowed $5 billion dollars from general revenue in the last two years to pay for transportation infrastructure is a sign of this. Transportation is normally covered from transportation generated fees (e.g. gas tax, vehicle registrations, etc.), yet Texas has taken to not only borrowing, but also borrowing from General Revenue. In fact, the Texas DOT is now paying more in debt service than it is spending on building new infrastructure (the result of past debt issuances from the state’s transportation fund – i.e. gas taxes and registration fees). This is all kicking the can down the road in a way that has the state living on borrowed time. And transportation is only one example of this.

    The point is that Texas is doing a number of things in the name of low tax, low regulation that produce very negative side-effects and furthermore that are non-sustainable. In that same vein, one might also consider that Texas had a $27 billion budget shortfall this biennium (this number is the one that would have maintained services at their current level when accounting for the population growth since the last biennium). And this was not the effect of the negative economy, it was most largely the effect of a cut in property tax rates Perry championed in 2007.

    By lowering taxes (not even maintaining the current low tax regime) in the face of growing population we are watching even the most vital state services slip from bad to worse. Today’s Austin American Statesman talks about how classes at elementary schools are growing to 28 to 30 students per class with fewer teachers (http://www.statesman.com/news/local/students-educators-face-changes-as-first-bell-rings-1771066.html). Does this sound like a state adequately preparing for its future?

    I would offer that you should look beyond the mere job figures and more to statistics that measure the sustainability of the Texas economy and the quality of life of residents beyond those at the very top.

  428. […] the truth behind Perry’s claims about Texas and job creation? A handy blog, Political Math, takes a look at the data. I suggest you check it out. Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to […]

  429. Marlon says:

    Even if you take the energy sector out of the equation, you still have to account for all the ancillary jobs created by that boom. The energy workers don’t live in a vacuum…they go out and eat, shop and entertain themselves.

  430. GeorgeC says:


    Quoting Shapleigh and Watson is just parroting a couple of left wing hacks, who don’t get the Texas state of mind. I came here from the nasty northeast (NJ) 25 years ago, and never looked back. I need no metric to know that this state, even here in Austin with the mother load of left wing idiots is better than where I came from. Paid less, you bet. Took a huge pay cut, and still make less than those doing the same “up there”. But quality of life here is so much better for me. Medical is exceptional, land is plantiful, and while still pricing in more than I think it is all worth, a better deal than “up north”, where I assume you believe things to be so much better.
    The air here is cleaner than that air you can see in NJ, and I am convinced the left-influenced enviro-whackos look for anything to criticise Texas air and water quality. But that’s laughable too. The waterways in NJ, and its air REALLY are a mess. Not here. Its clean. Why? I have seen that REAL Texans appreciate the place they live in and don’t pollute.
    Remember, Texas is a state of mind.

    And watching the most vital state services slip. Yeah, and those vital services are pave the roads and keep the bad guys locked up. Beyond that, we can start the state ex-worked unemployment line ASAP. (you libs really amuse me)

    As for education, all you pointy headed acedemics can quote numbers all day. The kids here do as well or better than in any other state. Oh, yeah, heaven forbid…30 kids in a class. Please, spare me that line of BS. In grades 1-8 I had 50-55 kids in my classes, and the nuns handled them with no problems and no teachers assistants. If there is any reason why kids are not doing as well its because we’re progress-ed them into ignorance, and the teachers want to be treated like line workers at the Ford plant. They’re taught politicall correctness (everybody wins!) over the “three R’s”. We pay teachers here less as well. See my point above regarding my own income. They’re paid less because its less expensive to live here.
    Got that all you pinko libs? Its just a better place to be. I know you’re all out there distorting the facts to discredit Perry. Well…good luck. You can’t hide from truth, though I know the libs try their darndest to do so every signle day. I’d rather see Ron Paul, but if Perry gives the left Heartburn, it makes it more fun to watch.
    I feel better now. Y’all come down here. And “Don’t Mess With Texas”

  431. JCalton says:

    Great, so now all we need to do is elect Rick Perry president and have every citizen in America move to Texas. All our problems will be solved.

    Aside from the fact that Texas is an outlier (a polite way of saying a statistical aberration)…whatever happened in Texas would be mathematically impossible to reproduce across another 49 states, as everybody can’t move everywhere at once.

    Well, I suppose we could reproduce it by allowing an influx of immigrants to all 49 states (plus D.C. I guess), but somehow I’m guessing the type of people that would vote for Perry wouldn’t like that very much.

  432. […] Second, a closer look at the data shows that Texas has not added minimum wage jobs at a faster rate than other states. In fact, wages in Texas have grown the 6th fastest in the nation. […]

  433. Delaustin says:

    Can you clarify: for your “Personal Favorite Chart,” where are you getting the number of people leaving Wisconsin and “fleeing” to Texas?

    Those sound much higher than net migration numbers available elsewhere (especially considering that these http://www.census.gov/hhes/migration/ are TOTAL people moving, not working-age–which is what would affect the unemployment rate if job growth isn’t exceeding working-age population growth. Or are you including domestic and foreign migration, all ages, such as from here? http://www.census.gov/popest/states/NST-comp-chg.html ).

    And related to this, what is the denominator for the vertical axis? Is it the labor force for each state as of December 07?

    I’m trying to replicate the numbers using BLS private-sector job growth only (Texas peaked on this in Aug 08, having entered the recession later, and has not yet recovered to that level).

  434. Dave says:

    One basic argument against your whole presentation is the notion that Texas’s employment growth rate has been “huge” simply because it’s twice it’s nearest competitor. Look at the actual number and you’ll notice it’s slightly over 1%. A 1% growth in employment– simply because it’s twice the nearest competitor– is not “huge.”

  435. […] Second, a closer look at the data shows that Texas has not added minimum wage jobs at a faster rate than other states. In fact, wages in Texas have grown the 6th fastest in the nation. […]

  436. William Laudermilk says:

    Texas is much more affluent than California or New York.

    The Cost-of-Living-Adjusted Median Household Incomes are:

    Texas 54,836

    california 46,418

    new york 43,769

    Associatedcontent.com under Richest and Poorest states has every state calculated and ranked.

    I’m repeating an earlier comment because I’m amazed at how many people, particularly Liberals, don’t understand an elementary and essential fact about wealth.
    Nominal(unadjusted) income is not wealth.
    Purchasing power is wealth.

    A person who makes 50,000 a year in 2011 has more income than a person who made 25,000 in 1970, but he has far less purchasing power.
    whenever you compare incomes seperated by time or geography you must adjust for cost-of-living differences.

    Texas is not simply a high job growth state, it is a better wealth producing state than the two giant iconic Liberal states.
    Lawyers, unions, and environmentalists don’t recieve the favorable treatment at the expense of wealth creation that they do in California and New York.

  437. David Manowitz says:

    I find it odd that you call your last chart your “personal favorite” where it seems to be nearly an inverse of the 3rd chart (As a percentage of the number of pre-recession jobs, here is a chart of the growth of a selection of states). This makes sense as the earlier chart is the job growth situation vs pre-“recession” jobs, whereas the last is unemployment vs pre-“recession” population. Thus, I think it is dishonest to present this last chart as “new” data, when it is mostly a reinterpretation of an earlier one.

    However, with the earlier chart, you cautioned that the job growth rate is somewhat low due to the phenomenal growth in Texas’s population, but you don’t have a similar caveat with the last chart. Though, if your earlier speculation that many people are flocking to Texas *looking* for jobs, it *does* matter that the unemployment rate remains in the middle of the pack. While some of these people may end up creating new jobs on their own, if your speculation is correct, we’d expect to see the unemployment rate in Texas remain at or higher than where it currently is for the near future.

  438. Delaustin says:

    William Laudermilk: The cost-of-living adjustment data you cite originally comes from ACCRA, which is helpful for upper-income professionals relocating from one U.S. city to another, but not so useful for adjusting state median HH income. (ACCRA methodology explained, below, from its FAQ.) Namely, some big-ticket items–like health insurance premiums–won’t show up in that CES data because those white-collar workers tend to get premiums paid for by their employers, and do not pay them out-of-pocket. This is not the case for about HALF of Texas workers or their dependents: they don’t have job-sponsored health care. Their options are: come up with $11,000 annually to buy health insurance for themselves & their family, or go uninsured. Factor that in and the TX cost-of-living numbers change significantly. I also disagree with your definition of wealth, because it’s not just income (adj for time or geography), but also assets and outstanding debt, that determine purchasing power. Looking at all of these, I do agree with you that TX is good at producing wealth, but mostly for the wealthy.

    “ACCRA: How are the averages weighted and what constitutes “midmanagement”? Each item priced is a surrogate for an entire category of consumer expenditures. …The weights assigned to each item come from the Consumer Expenditures Survey conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. C2ER uses the proportional distribution of spending by households in the top quintile of income and by households where the reference person is professional or managerial to assign weights representing a midmanagement standard of living.”

  439. Phades says:

    I think causation is the important thing left out of this data mine presented here. What I have seen/experienced in relation to the “texas debate” for jobs, largely revolves around sound bites and press releases more related to PR spin than actual facts. Then, when the average unemployed person hears this, they uproot and move (since they weren’t home owners or were foreclosed upon). This would be the majority of the movers, while some are nabbed by head hunters and offered a job if they move, or the even fewer buisnesses that move and take employees with them (looking by volume or frequency not a biased trend or preference).

    Now this has nothing to do with any one individual’s policy or policy comparison from where they were moving from, but more along the lines of herding sheep. How these sheep benefit Texas in the long term is arguable at best as with more people begets more needs and services. If the government is cutting back on services at the state and local level, while population expands with a major element residing being unemployed it seems more like a burden than a benefit (this would be despite federal funding based upon continuing claims, or other styles of “welfare” items that receive federal funding). The other side of the view is the private sector services also have to expand to meet the demand, which is where you get the minimum wage jobs argument.

    Your article does highlight some of the divisions on which those jobs are getting broken down. However, you can’t itemize the actual positions of which they are filling. You attempt to draw a conclusion based upon average wage earned within the state, however those figures would be drawn upon all wages earned not just those in jobs that were added. What would be more useful to capture would be the mode average wage earned of positions added since 2009, since both median and mean averages will get biased the higher the overal wage scale goes, but then again the top ~10% of wage earners I doubt were added in the last 2-3 years (note: i do realize you are deriving your figures from others sources and I am not calling you out specifically for a public records request to obtain that information, just making an observation).

  440. ezra abrams says:

    an example of the poor quality on some other blogs:
    Jared Bernstein has a very widely quoted blog with a graph (see below) which claims to show that the TXm (texas miracle) is due to gov’t jobs.
    See if you can spot his error

    he takes 2007 and 2010 as his points; clearly, 2010 was the low point in non gov’t jobs and the high point in govt (census) – if you choose the right range you can do anything…


  441. FuzzyBunny says:

    While you’ve shown that Texas would still experience massive job growth even without its abundant supply of energy, would it have the same effect on wages?

    That is, would wages still be increasing at the 6th highest rate in the country if we subtracted jobs related to energy – perhaps the energy industry inflates wages, and high-paying jobs in that sector help to counterbalance wages from McJobs?

  442. William Laudermilk says:

    MoneyRates.com has ranked the states on a person’s ability to make a living based on the following:

    $ Average state wages
    $ State unemployment rate
    $ State tax rate
    $ State cost of living

    Partial results:

    #3 Texas

    #30 New York

    #47 California

    You can quibble about the imperfections in the cost-of-living data or the methods used, but they won’t change the rankings much.

    Like it or not, Texas is far exceeding the two giant Liberal states in job AND wealth creation for the average person and household.

    There’s an excellent article on Newgeography.com by Eamon Moynihan titled ” High Cost Of Living Leaves Some States Uncompetitive” that helps explain why California and New York are falling so far behind states like Texas.

  443. FuzzyBunny says:

    Mr Laudermilk –

    Could you please provide a link to these rankings?

  444. Sam says:

    I’d like to better understand the gap between this blog’s quoted BLS numbers:

    “Texas median hourly wage is $15.14… almost exactly in the middle of the pack (28th out of 51 regions). Given that they’ve seen exceptional job growth (and these other states have not) this does not seem exceptionally low.”

    To these numbers drawn from http://www.bls.gov/ro6/fax/minwage_tx.htm

    “The median hourly earnings for all hourly-paid wage and salary workers in Texas stood at $11.20 per hour in 2010; nationally, the median was $12.50.3. For men and for women, the median hourly rates in Texas were $12.13 and $10.24, respectively. (See table 1.) Nationally, the median hourly rates were $13.76 for men and $11.83 for women.

    Texas were $12.13 and $10.24, respectively. (See table 1.) Nationally, the median hourly rates were $13.76 for men and $11.83 for women. Texas, at 9.5 percent, tied with Mississippi for the highest proportion of hourly-paid workers earning at or below the prevailing Federal minimum wage among the 50 states and the District of Columbia in 2010. Alabama and West Virginia followed, each at 9.3 percent.

    Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and California had the lowest percentage of workers earning at or below the Federal minimum wage (2 percent or less). Texas accounted for 12.6 percent of all U.S. workers paid at or below the Federal minimum wage in 2010, down from 13.3 percent in 2009.”

  445. Jake says:


    There is a difference between median wage and minimum wage. You seem to be conflating the two.

    The data you linked to was the median hourly wage of hourly paid workers. This measure will naturally be lower than the median wage estimate of all occupations (the data used in the original post)

  446. […] bra analys som nyanserar Krugmans kritik finns här. Vi tenderar ju att gilla när folk räknar på saker. Slutsatsen är princip att den kritik som […]

  447. Great set of data.

    I’d like to answer how Perry can take credit for this, when Texans have always done this. The answer is that Perry has staved off all the liberal influences that have attempted to change us. He has, over and over, taken hits for lowering spending whenever he can on social issues, and focused on business.

    That’s not to say we can’t quibble on little things like the vaccine issue, or even big issues like the toll-road push and the franchise tax, but the man has been in office for a long time, and whenever he can, he consistently pushes the debate in the right direction. It would be VERY easy to do something different.

    When we get excited about a Governor Christie and his excellent rhetoric, it is easy to forget how simple it is for him to succeed. All he has to do is just turn down the spending spigot a little bit, and he’s a huge winner. But when you govern a large state that already is number three or something on the Low Spending States, it is much more difficult to cut anything without everyone whining about “the children” (who apparently would prefer to be slaves to the state all their lives in order to pay for their all-day kindergarten).

  448. Roy Bloom says:

    Someone has read How to lie with Statiscs. The Data presented by the BLS does not support the reported increase # or % in jobs = employed or not employed public sector jobs. Pretty graphs though.

  449. […] is smaller than Austin’s.  It has large in-migration because of jobs, and as one blogger points out, wages are rising faster in Texas than [most] other states, so one cannot credibly make the […]

  450. Chuck Mann says:

    the “reason” for job creation is an important factor, one that can point to things that can be done nationwide to promote job growth. This posting, while excellent, does not seem to point to any particular reasons. Texas job growth success did not happen because Rick Perry talks a good game. It happened because?

    Some say lower business tax rates than other states. Some say fewer regulations on business than other states. some say that Texas offers generous incentives to lure businesses to relocate. Some say all three.

    This is what needs to be investigated and detailed next. And before the presidential primary season gears up. Perry needs to have these answers on the tip of his tongue. Otherwise the left wing propaganda machine (which already is ramping up) will destroy him.

    Nice job on the research, btw.

  451. […] made Texas create more jobs, or whether instead, he just stood back and enjoyed watching it happen. A sound mathematical case can be made that Texas would have a statewide U3 of 2.3% if its population were constant instead of […]

  452. Jake says:

    @Roy Bloom, how so?

    It is easy to show up on a blog and take pot shots. You don’t provide any data, any counterexamples, or even an argument. Your entire post, and apparently your entire argument is “you lie because I said so.”

  453. Delaustin says:

    Chuck Mann said/asked: “Texas job growth success did not happen because Rick Perry talks a good game. It happened because?”

    Job growth (net growth anyway; TX has also lost jobs in the recession) happened in large part because the state population grew — twice as fast as the US average in the last decade. And that growth came more from “natural increase” (births minus deaths) than from migration (domestic or foreign, legal or not).* http://www.census.gov/popest/states/NST-comp-chg.html

    This creates jobs in what labor market pointyheaded types call “personal services” such as retail and food service; also in education (local school districts or “govt jobs creation”) and health care, sectors that have grown fairly rapidly in TX. Long-term growth in govt jobs in TX is real, not just a 2010 Census-worker blip. Or at least it was, until the school budget cuts made this year start going into effect.

    Job loss theories: In a recession, the loss of manufacturing jobs is usually the worst blow. But TX had a below-average % of these jobs to begin with (% of civilian empl), and the ones it has are in areas where demand doesn’t drop off as much (such as petrochemicals, military contracts) when consumers are unemployed.

    Notice I left out the word “success” in describing TX job growth? That’s because poverty rates, unemployment rates, uninsured rates, and so on have not improved much. Rates of poverty and no health insurance in TX are among the worst in the nation, even when unemployment rate = average. Job quality, not job quantity, is what matters in the long run if Texas is ever going to be a great home to ALL its families & workers, not just those in the top 10%.

    More fuel for the discussion/data to back up much of what I said:

    PS – Advice for anyone looking at the BLS datasets: be aware that depending on which ones you use, you’ll see different median/mean hourly wages, total number of jobs, etc., because some of the surveys ask employers about the type and # of jobs they have (these tend to be jobs covered by minimum wage laws/other federal benefits); others ask people about the work they do (whether or not they are on a payroll, or “self employed”). Seasonal adjustment usually matters for monthly data.

    *If the governor or other state leaders want to take credit for TX’s high birth rate (including teen birth rate), maybe that’s valid; they seem to be deadset on eliminating access to family planning and anything in public schools that isn’t “abstinence only.”

  454. Sam says:

    @ Jake

    I don’t think you grasp the nature of my question. Minimum wage doesn’t come into it. The question I raised is over the median wage number cited by the blog and the source the author draws it from.

    If you follow the link provided, (without additional guidance as is the case for most of the other data sets) you are greeted by a wall of data sets with no easily discernible answer.

    I did find his 15.14 number, but not without a bit of effort. A search for “median hourly wage 2010” returns “Minimum Wage Workers in Texas – 2010
    28 Mar 2011 … The median hourly earnings for all hourly-paid wage and salary workers in Texas stood at $11.20 per hour in 2010” as its second result.

    What is more, a Google search for “texas 15.14 median hourly wage” returns the BLS page that I cited as its first result. Only by following a link from the Huffington Post that was on the second page of search results did I ultimately reach a page where the author’s numbers could actually be found.

    The fact that close scrutiny indicates a gap between the median hourly earnings for hourly-paid wage and salary workers and the author’s number is significant. If he is attempting to paint a rosy economic picture in Texas, then a middle of the pack number is far better than the reality that Texas’s median wage for these workers is $1.30 lower at $11.20 than the national median ($12.50).

    Furthermore, when the data under discussion appears under the caption “Sure, Texas has lost of jobs, but their mostly low-paying/minimum wage jobs” I feel it is germane to mention that Texas is tied with Mississippi for the highest proportion of hourly-paid workers earning at or below the prevailing Federal minimum wage, at 9.5 percent.

    One good reason why “[s]ince the recession started hourly wages in Texas have increased at a 6th fastest pace in the nation” is that the federal minimum wage increased in 2007 for the first time in a decade. From the $5.15 where it stood before July 2007 it increased over two years to its current $7.25. I’d imagine that for many Texans that $2.10 did a lot to increase their income, perhaps that contributes to the rapidly increasing hourly wages.

    I feel that the 11.20 median is more relevant because it represents those who are hourly-paid wage-earners. Should Texas burger flippers be lumped in with oil tycoons when considering the former’s position relative to their peers in other states? Why would you choose 15.14 unless you wanted to manipulate the data to advance an argument?

    Furthermore, the BLS states “BLS does not routinely estimate hourly earnings for non-hourly workers because of data concerns that arise in producing these estimates.” Also to be found at

    I hope I’ve answered your questions, Jake, and that I’ve been able to articulate why I had initial question’s about the author’s data selection and presentation. I hope that I’ve provided enough data and rationale so that I don’t come across as taking pot shots.

  455. JT Westcoast says:

    Policy may or may not make jobs. But the hypocrites on the left want to take credit for the total number of jobs created while Obama is in office (including those created in Texas) but then want to turn around and attack Perry about the very jobs that the just got done taking credit for.

  456. Thank you for a very good suggestion from you.

  457. […] blogger who specializes in math and visualization did an analysis of jobs in Texas and does crush all the anti-Perry myths floating […]

  458. Jim S says:

    I don’t think people are flocking here for 100+ heat and high humidity.
    To all
    The governor of texas is not a particularly strong position. His strongest power is the veto pen. The wisdom of what to sign and what not to sign is often overlooked. The most powerful person in Texas gov’t is the Lt. Governor as he controls the state senate, thus what can or cannot become law.

  459. Reg says:

    Please research and post Perry’s numbers on public education.

  460. […] current downturn, the strength of the Texas economy that Perry helped manage has caused the state to really stand out. Romney was governor of Massachusetts for four years, during which … well, I guess it was a […]

  461. DHR says:

    So what you’re saying is that people and businesses are moving to Texas from other states, creating an undeniable boomlet.

    But it’s not something that Perry has done, unless if you count praying for it. And since Texas’s gain has been at the expense of the states losing population, it’s nothing that Perry could duplicate as president.

  462. Gaylord C Reid says:

    Perry gets my vote. Thanks for the info. Go Tea Party!!!

  463. LDF says:

    The graph of median income in this article is deceptive. Texas is tied with Mississippi for the state with the highest percentage of minimum-wage jobs. There’s nothing dishonest about saying that burger-flipping jobs are a major factor in the Rick Perry Texas economy.

    As for job growth, it turns out that for the past two years, Texas’ bad 8.2% unemployment rate would have been even worse if the number of government jobs has grown, partly fueled by Obama’s stimulus money, while the number of private sector jobs actually shrank.

    And this isn’t only the biased liberal media who are saying this, it’s also the Wall Street Journal that’s debunked Perry’s economic “miracle” in Texas:


  464. texas booster says:

    I presume that the bright red line on most charts is Michigan.

    If so, their economy is really in the tank, and people are fleeing the state like never before.

    And the former governor has the audacity to teach economics at a CA college – and the college has the insanity to have her teach our children.


  465. James says:

    I’m curious what happens when you remove the energy sector jobs from the median wage analysis. Do you have that data?

  466. Mike says:

    A question. What is the relationship between staes in differing “unemployment benifit Qualifications”. If a person moves to Texas, formerly unemployed in another state, what happens to the numbers? Does moving to Texas and setting up residence then make that individual not qualified for “unemployeement benifits” from the State of Texas? Does that mean, that recent… 6 mo.? 12 mo.? “immigrant” cannot be counted through the Texas system? Are there more unemployeed in a state where migration happens.. to.. than can be accounted for in conventional employment counting methods? Since there are so many moving to Texas, and Texas employment #’s are @ 8.2%.. if 10% of those moving to Texas
    do not find jobs and are not counted as “unemployed”, what would the #’s reflect. How many are leaving Texas on a monthly basis also should be taken into account as far as health, of the Economy. If those leaving, for example, are 1/3 of those coming into the State, are those also not counted into unemployed ranks,,, from the State of Texas…

  467. Jake says:


    You asked why there was a difference between the median hourly wage figures you found using a google search and the data the author used, and I tried to provide an answer. If you follow the author’s link you can find the data he used (it is the state cross industry estimates for 2010).

    “I feel that the 11.20 median is more relevant because it represents those who are hourly-paid wage-earners. Should Texas burger flippers be lumped in with oil tycoons when considering the former’s position relative to their peers in other states? Why would you choose 15.14 unless you wanted to manipulate the data to advance an argument?”-Sam

    Shapiro using the median as opposed to the average is the correct measure precisely because the high wages of oil tycoons don’t distort the number (like they would an average). Using the median counts one person as one person. Texas having a high median wage for all occupations means that lots of the jobs in Texas pay better than the median hourly wage measure that you prefer. More importantly, Shapiro looks at the percent change in the median hourly wage: if lots of the new jobs are “burger flippers” then the %Change should be low since lots of people would be piling into the median at low wages. Shapiro shows that isn’t the case. Shapiro also looks at %change since the beginning of the recession, which was long after the 2007 federal minimum wage increase, so that wouldn’t influence the numbers.

    I do appreciate your willingness to articulate your arguments, and I am glad that you are taking a proactive approach to looking at the data. A dose of skepticism is always healthy. Nevertheless, Shapiro has done good solid analysis here.

    You are right that maybe he should have mentioned the percentage of people who are working at below the federal minimum wage, but again, if lots of people are piling into those jobs, then the median wage would be growing slowly or even shrinking, but that isn’t the case. Texas has perhaps always had lots of people that work below the Fed min. wage (lots of teenagers for example could fall into this category, as would waiters, I think maybe some farm workers as well, etc.). Working below the Fed min. wage isn’t a very good measure of prosperity because of the wide range of jobs that can pay below the Fed. min wage.

  468. Jeff C says:

    While experience is often a poor educator, it is my experience as a Texan that a) many people are coming here from other states and b) they aren’t standing on street corners begging for handouts, rather they are employed. Microeconomically speaking, on my street are two such persons – one who relocated from California and the other from New Hampshire. Both are working at well-paying jobs. Why is Texas’ able to offer such attraction to outsiders? It sure as heck isn’t the weather from May to November. It is, in my humble estimation simply the regulatory environment. Small businesses can find a home here without burdensome local regulation. Large ones can find tax abatements here. Housing for employees is cheap and the cost of living (outside of the horribly egregious residential property taxes) is good. No income taxes, cheap housing, attractive persons of the opposite sex, fair hunting and excellent fishing make for growth. I was in California as a boy when the aforementioned adjectives described that state (minus, of course the income taxes). One last and perhaps most important reason for our growth is that all liberals must live near Austin. If found outside the city limits, they may be shot without recourse. :)

  469. Phil P says:

    Texas does profit from a very nice base-load of petrochemical industry jobs – about 30% of the nation’s refining capacity, and maybe as much as 40% of many organic chemicals, are manufactured in Texas. That’s thanks to massive infrastructure along the Texas Gulf Coast region, from Port Arthur to Corpus Christi, that doesn’t get idled in a downturn the same way auto lines might get shut down. Why are those in Texas? Historical reasons (originally located next to Texas’ oilpatches), lots and lots of land, salt dome formations in Freeport, and certain waterways (Houston Ship Channel, Neches River) that everyone accepts will have a high level of pollution. Of course, the double edge of this sword is that Texas will always generate more pollution than other states … even if it were much better (it isn’t) at regulating industries. The fact that Houston is 3 hours from Dallas-Ft Worth and both are 2-3 hours from Austin/San Antonio also helps a lot, since there’s lots of still cheap land to expand out along the interstates connecting these cities. But nobody’s talking about the wall Texas is hitting thanks to all that growth – WATER. This summer’s drought is seeing agricultural and ranching uses being cut off as cities get first rights to water supplies. As Texas population keeps growing, the fact that for 10 years Perry did little or nothing to address this looming problem should be a major factor in considering whether he really knows how to manage growth, or just ride it.

  470. Sharpshooter says:

    And things were going so swimmingly when Ma Richards was at the helm. :-)

    Even a weak governor can do a lot of damage, or encourage growth and prosperity.

  471. John says:

    Thanks for the time you spent putting this data together into such an understandable, readable, well documented and transparent format! I had a comment about one thing you said at the end though.

    You seemed to imply that if we make the claim that government doesn’t create jobs, then we can’t also claim that elected officials have an effect on jobs. Unfortunately though, government has an affect on jobs. While the government can’t really create jobs, it can certainly get in the way with over bearing regulations and tax burdens that cause companies to move to more hospitable locations and bring jobs with them.

    We need to stop asking government to create jobs for us and instead tell them to get out of the way so we can create our own jobs.

  472. Jonathan says:

    This post makes an excellent argument for why immigration is good for the economy! Not much else, though, I’m afraid.

  473. […] about Texas’s unemployment rate not looking very good, with a bunch of facts and figures, and somebody else raves about Texas’s jobs numbers actually looking incredible, with a bunch of other facts and […]

  474. cody e. says:

    Guess I wont be seeing this piece on msnbc anytime soon. No he can’t take jobs from other states as president. He can create a job friendly atmosphere in this country again though.

  475. Jack Myswag says:

    Duh. Posing as a Perry hater, while completely singing his praise? Oldest trick in the book.

    Let’s not talk about Texan jobs? Okay, if you can stop Perry from thumping his chest like a gorilla on jobs, everytime he’s close to a mike, we’ll stop talking about HIS job-creating skill.

    Also, claiming that Texas is an outlier, is like claiming American Exceptionalism, which is especially lame considering Texas actually does WORSE than Federal on jobs creation:


    Given the growth of the population, Texas should have created MORE jobs than it has now.
    It’s like this: Let’s Texas had just 50 people, 22 of them with jobs. Then poplation grew to 75, you’d expect jobs to grow to 33. But they didn’t. They grew to 30. You can claim that Texas added 8 jobs, while the rest of the country added just 10 or 11, but the rest of the country didn’t grown in population like Texas has.


  476. Jack Myswag says:

    “If Rick Perry had nothing to do with creating jobs in Texas, than why does Obama have something to do with creating jobs anywhere?”

    I’m sorry, but are you daft? Because of course:
    1. Texan Gov is far weaker a role than US president
    2. Obama is smarter than Perry when it comes to the economy.
    3. It seems that Perry prays for more jobs, while Obama actually does something. Everyone forgot he saved the car industry?

    Perry didn’t create private sector jobs, Obama did.
    Perry took Obama’s money and created govt jobs, teachers. He still had to give schools that money. It was Perry’s decision to take it, and take it he did, never you mind that he’s not running schools directly.

    “Policies create jobs when they are policies I like. They don’t create jobs when they are policies I dislike.”??????
    Nope. Of course some policies create jobs. while others don’t
    Case in point, Perry’s business tax, costs a lot, 5 billion dollars, but killed a lot of jobs.

    Don’t leave the country to bozo crony capitalists like Perry.

  477. […] Finally, here is a new link, just added due to its excellent analysis of Texas jobs and unemployment. It is an excellent read that digs into the correlation between unemployment, job growth, and people moving to Texas. It’s called “Political Math.” […]

  478. bbbbarry says:

    The problem is that Perry and his supporters don’t stop at making these claims about Texas: the facts, as you point out, stand for themselves. No, the problem is that they then, illogically, say, “Soooo, you should vote for Perry for President!”

    By which they mean that if you vote for him for President he’ll enact these same policies and make it so that America creates great jobs the way that Texas did … by … bringing people … from … other states?

  479. […] gurus have pointed out, his record there is hard to quibble with. This compilation of data at Political Math is the most compelling. There are several takeaways: 1.) Jobs are “growing over twice as fast as […]

  480. Silly Wabbit says:

    we need to think about the synergy between different policies and the way in which some policies serve as de facto labor market policies especially for the population most at risk for unemployment.
    Specifically, I am thinking about the incarceration rate and the rate of military enlistment.
    The population most at risk for unemployment is basically the young and the brown. Prison and military enlistment both serve as de facto labor market policies. TX has much higher incarceration rates than the national average:

    TX also has a high rate of military enlistment:

    I’m not trying to bash Perry. Rather, I think that social scientists need to do a much better job about thinking about unemployment as a social problem that certain populations have a greater risk for than others. Ignoring it doesn’t make it go away: for these populations de facto labor market institutions like prison or the military fill the void left by lack of a true jobs policy. If TX had an incarceration rate or military enlistment rate at the national average unemployment in that state would likely be much higher.
    Sorry I couldn’t link to better raw data. I’m sure its out there but I have many papers to write. Someone should really look into the relationship between incarceration, enlistment and unemployment with some recent data.
    Food for thought……

  481. […] 2, 2011Melissa speaks with Matthias Shapiro aka Political Math about the current American economy, the European economy and then, the Texas economy. It is […]

  482. […] Originally Posted by ElasticNinja Well after a quick Google I found they apparently Texas has one of the highest property taxes in the USA (could be as much as 5% of value apparently) Such high taxes would quell any property bubble, and thus would lead to less job losses in a bust. Its just reasonable that it would have a decent net job creation rate. Proves the importance of a high property tax I'd say! Here in Texas you can only borrow up to 80% of your home's value unlike many other states where people's homes were treated as personal ATM machines during the bubble. Texas also has less restrictive land use policies which helps keep building costs lower than states with more restrictive land use policies. These are the two main reasons I've seen cited for Texas avoiding the housing bubble. As far as the criticisms of Texas' performance here's a link to an article that digs a little deeper than the usual drive-by analysis: Rick Perry And Texas Job Numbers Political Math […]

  483. […] population is smaller than Austin’s.  It has large in-migration because of jobs, and as one blogger points out,wages are rising faster in Texas than [most] other states, so one cannot credibly make the argument […]

  484. Charles O. Slavens says:

    And don’t forget, all those oil jobs are built upon some black stuff that appeared in the ground just a mere 6000 years ago. Will wonders never cease?

  485. Texas for Texas says:

    Jack Myswag if you weren’t born in Texas, please move back to the state you were born in. Thank you. The State of Texas

  486. Texas for Texas says:

    Jack my apology. My wife says I should never try to be funny. She says I should just do what I do best and that’s creating jobs. We do work from Phoenix, AZ, to Denver, CO to Oklahoma City, OK to Lafayette, LA to Texas. I’ve worked in 32 states and 5 out of the 10 largest cities in the Union. I can personally tell you and everyone else that Texas has the best of everything to offer companies and the people who live here. Starting with a:
    1. pro-business government
    2. limited regulations,
    3. lower taxes,
    4. a good educated workforce,
    5. pro-development regulations,
    6. good housing,
    7. low cost of living

    I’m not a fan of Perry and you can write that in stone. You can also write that Texas is the best place in the Union to work and live. Where a man can work hard and benefit from his work, choose to work where and for whom he wants to without a union boss telling if and when he can work and without having the union in his pocket.

    No matter what you or I think of Perry during his time in office Texas has prospered and we are doing a hell of a lot better than most of the country. You can’t say that about anything Obama has done.

    What I want from a Governor and a President is for them to keep the hell out of my life and out of my way. We have projects in San Antonio, New Braunfels, Austin, Dallas, Denver, Oklahoma City and Houston all of which are private sector creations without the help of the State or the Federal government. We need to add 200 employees to our workforce within the next 10 months but can only do so if Obama and his cronies get out of our way and create an environment friendly to job creation by:
    1. lowering or keeping corporate taxes low
    2. lower personal taxes
    3. lower capital gains taxes
    4. fewer regulations, pull the plug on the overreaching EPA and OSHA
    5. 2 year exemption on employer matching employees taxes for new hire
    6. tax break for job training and/or continuing education program
    7. kill Obama Care
    8. restrict trade with China

    What you do have to give Perry is that he supports an environment that is good for business and business growth. You can’t say that about Obama.

  487. Texas for Texas says:

    Add the NLRB to the list of agencies that need to be deleted.

    Last, but certainly not least, is the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) unconstitutional attack on Boeing. Earlier this year, the radically pro-labor NLRB blocked Boeing from opening a brand-new factory in South Carolina to build its Dreamliner airplanes, supposedly because Boeing built the facility to spite union workers in Washington. Whatever the motivation, the NLRB’s actions have left approximately 1,000 South Carolinians out of work.

    Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2011/09/07/attacking-us-companies-is-no-way-to-create-jobs/#ixzz1XHdyodR3

  488. Mary Carol Litman says:

    Great article..thanks for taking the time to research this. Perry gets my vote too!

  489. […] Good Jobs, Good Jobs, Good Jobs! As evidence by Rick Perry’s “Texas Miracle,” the quality of the jobs is as important as the quantity. Commenting upon the Texas job growth under Perry: “We have created jobs, but they are not […]

  490. […] Perry: C+ Nothing stellar here. The job creation numbers can be found here. He has a solid record to run on in a Republican primary, and when he was talking about his record […]

  491. […] though he still tries to hold up the Texas example to prove he was “creating jobs.”  Texas is adding tons of jobs, but only because the government is passive or reactive in creating jobs.  As government shrinks […]

  492. Kimbo says:

    These are not UNIQUE jobs to our economy. They are PILLAGED from elsewhere based on the promises of environmental deregulation, lower pay and even more dismal benefits for workers, and yet more corporate tax haven status for corporations doing business in America.

    Economic statistics don’t stand in a vacuum, they effect other areas including the levels of insured citizens, poverty rates, and environmental degradation. As it stands, Texas is the WORST state for providing insurance for it’s citizens, one of the MOST impoverished, and has some of the HIGHEST emissions output in the country. If you have a job but can’t get insurance, can’t pull yourself out of poverty, or have CANCER because your leaders fail to protect the environment, then that’s hardly a decent economy for a FIRST WORLD nation.

    People are moving to TEXAS for high paying jobs because TEXAS’ education system is also one of the worst in the nation so competing for those government contract jobs that GW Bush helped secure in OIL and DEFENSE is easier for an out-of-stater competing with someone educated in the Texas school system. And then there’s the fact that Texas is CHEAP, like THIRD WORLD CHEAP to live in. Hardly something to brag about.

    But thanks for ignoring all the RELEVANT data that so-called economists tend to ignore when discussing how effective the “job creation” of a leader is. If workers have to learn to ACCEPT less benefits, less pay, less environmental protections, and a lower standard of living, then that’s hardly exceptional.

    BTW, I thought Rick Perry HATED cancer, as he said during the debate.

  493. Randy C of Boston says:

    I’m almost, but not quite, a Tea Party type, and I’m currently agnostic on Perry.

    But as a political junkie/English major I really enjoyed your analysis and candid, forthwrite (sic) style! Your item is a refreshing pleasure to read. Write on!*

    (*Yeah, I’m a child of the Sixties….)

  494. David of Texas says:

    Great article. You certainly struck a chord with all the nut jobs who have ignored your request to not quote other bloggers and support their claims with real data.
    Thanks again.

  495. Niall Battson says:

    Why do you rarely label your axis in the graphs? It would make reading them a lot easier.

  496. AvaGreen says:

    @Kimbo, percentages and numbers don’t exist in a vacuum.
    …… the insurance thing is related to the huge number of illegals (1.7 million ) in this state and more are coming each year because of the jobs that are available.. They don’t trust government and the moms that I ran into doing my job working for TexasHealthSteps just don’t want to go through the hassle and red tape to join SCHIP for measly amount of money they get from the Fed Gov’t. Same thing for “improverishment”rate.
    Your facts about Texas having the “worst” educational system…..not true. First of all, most illegal immigrants don’t come to Texas bringing a high school diploma with them and they don’t come to the U.S. to finish high school, they come to work. Though they are counted in the census, few will have graduated, resulting in a disproportionate number ofTexas residents without high school diplomas. What would your state do if you had the 2nd largest population of illegals in the U.S.?
    On education:
    Texas is ranked 13th in Education Week’s Quality Counts report. Quality Counts gave Texas an “A” in “Standards, Assessment and Accountability,” and an “A” in “Transitions and Alignment” of the Texas system with college and career readiness.

    In 2009, Texas ranked 7th in a 26 state comparison of the only states reporting four-year on-time graduation rates. That year Texas’ on-time graduation rate was 80.6%. The Texas on-time graduation rate for 2010 is now 84.3%, an amazing 3.7 percentage point increase in a single year on the dropout indicator.

    The Texas class of 2011 posted a record-high math score on the ACT college entrance exam. The Texas average math score was 21.5 and was higher than the national average of 21.1. See the full text for yourself at a Hot Air posting of the Dallas Morning News article.
    For more info, google Seventeen things critics are saying about Rick Perry……..
    or, just continue to post your wrong info. Your choice.

  497. John Star says:

    Texas spent $320 million to bring in high tech companies and jobs from other states. The promise of regulatory and tax friendly policies by themselves make Texas an easy sell to CEOs who look to line their pockets with even more money.

    This policy works wonders for Texas but would do very little for the country as a whole. How many net jobs has the U.S. gained as a result of Texas’ piracy? My guess is the number is actually negative. Do I have to remind people of Enron to show what self regulation gets you in the end? Even after the avoidable mortgage debacle, conservatives clamor for even fewer regulations. Great policies for stealing jobs but not great for society as a whole.

    Luckily for those of us outside the wonderfully self absorbed United States of Texas, the man will self destruct before its all over. The last thing this country needs is another goofball from Texas in the White House.

  498. avagreen says:

    Nice red herring there. And, such small thinking. As if what’s been done in the past is the only thing that can be done in the future. What liberal site did you get this off??

    With a President that knows how to (wants to) attract jobs, as proven by past history of, that person will more than likely be able to discern methods for the entire United States…………such as lowering the TAXES on national corporations so that they come back here instead of the lower taxed foreign countries, doing away with the 25,000 pages of regulations that are killing businesses (which cost about $2,000 per person) which includes the EPA. http://www.newsmax.com/ErnestIstook/Obama-Regulations-Killing-Jobs/2011/09/02/id/409593
    Federal regulations haven’t helped a bit and harmed greatly.

    All of these are on Perry’s “to do” list.
    What Obama hasn’t been able to get through Congress, he’s just going around and creating this mess by executive orders. Hardly constitutional.

  499. DATDAMD says:

    I seen the data and everything but the thing that got me is when he said the only jobs that were created were minimum wage jobs flippin burgers or low paying jobs. Thats bull because im from Texas and theres more jobs just were i stay who started hiering paying $9.50 to $15.00 for laborers that means no education,convicts, or nuckle heads are getting jobs so go Texas u suck

  500. avagreen says:

    Nice red herring there. As if what’s been done in the past is the only thing that can be done in the future.

    With a President that knows how to, and wants to, attract jobs, as proven by their past history, that person will more than likely be able to have methods that fit the national scene …………such as to quit punishing our industries by taxing them to death (highest in the world, I believe), lowering those TAXES on these national corporations so that they can afford to come back here instead of the lower taxed foreign countries, doing away with the 25,000 pages of regulations that are killing businesses, which includes the over-reaching EPA.
    Federal regulations haven’t helped a bit and harmed greatly, costing about $2,000 per employee, according to small business owners. Can’t post a link for any of this.

    All of these are on Perry’s “to do” list.

    What Obama hasn’t been able to get through Congress, he’s just going around and creating this mess by executive orders. Hardly constitutional.

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  502. GhostOfEnron says:

    Do your own research. Four hours is nothing to brag about, unless your a 6th grader.

    Look up the percentage of new jobs that were created in the government sector.

    The stats you quote are accurate, but the point is, complaining about “big government” when your state has benefited greatly from said BIG GOVERNMENT, is pure unadultered hypocritical BS.

    Your blog should be re-named “political math without complete statistical analytics”.

    And how’d all that deregulation fare for the Enron boys and girls, hmmm?

    And don’t bullshit us, you know you’ll be voting for Perry since your working “so hard” to sell his argument.

  503. GhostOfEnron says:

    Use the internets before launching guesses online.

    The last time overseas tax havens were given “amnesty” from taxes in effort to bring the monies back into the US, the vast majority wasn’t spent on job creation or even corporate infrastructure, but instead was used to buy-back more stock. You know, the type of earnings that avoid capital gains tax? US corporations are holding trillions in cash, wealthier than they’ve ever been. The ratio of personal income to corporate wealth is higher than it’s been sine before the Great Depression, yet the brain-dead “fiscal conservatives” seem to stupid to utter much less comprehend anything beyond a two-word soundbite which is nothing short of an outright lie.

  504. AvaGreen says:

    @GhostsofEnron……….give us a link. Preferably not something like HufPo or other such liberal site.

  505. AvaGreen says:

    @GhostsofEnron, also can you give an example of how Texas has “benefited greatly from said BIG GOVERNMENT”………since I live here and have for the past……..30+ years this last time. ??

  506. AvaGreen says:

    @GhostsofEnron, ………if you are going to be touting Kenysian Economics philosophy which this present administration has been using to bankrupt us for the past 3 years, don’t bother. This site isn’t set up for such a lengthy discussion. And, you’re talking to a Supply-Side Economics person. it would be like grinding the flint to the stone for us to get into this.

  507. TexanHoosier says:

    Thank you so much for doing this research. I knew that the data was being misrepresented, but didn’t know how to do the research you did. Really appreciate it!

  508. Ryan Larsen says:

    Interesting article. I have a few comments, this being the first of 3 or 4.

    I’d like to begin by responding to this sentiment:

    “One can argue that Perry had very little to do with the job situation in Texas, but such a person should be probably prepare themselves for the consequences of that line of reasoning. If Rick Perry had nothing to do with creating jobs in Texas, than why does Obama have something to do with creating jobs anywhere?”

    Obama has changed and continues trying to changing laws in a fashion which impacts employers and businesses negatively, both in terms of their ability to function and their willingness to function. In contrast, Perry has inherited (rather than “created”) a climate of laws favorable to business. Perry inherited a legacy of job growth, and has let it ride uninterrupted. For that he gets some credit, but it hardly makes him a masterminding risk-taker (although I do give him credit for tort reform).

    “And why would someone advocate any sort of “job creating” policies if policies don’t seem to matter when it comes to the decade long governor of Texas? In short, it seems to me that this line of reasoning, in addition to sounding desperate and partisan, hogties its adherents into a position where they are simultaneously saying that government doesn’t create jobs while arguing for a set of policies where government will create jobs.”

    In light of my above comment, I believe the answer to this apparent conundrum should be apparent.

  509. Ryan Larsen says:

    Part II:

    Rick Perry’s job attack is misleading: he says Romney ranked 47th in job growth (a talking point now echoed by pundits), but at the end of Romney’s term in office the unemploment rate in MA was 4.7%. Between 4% and 6% is considered healthy. Under 4 is considered unhealthy. The only way MA could have “created more jobs” is by increasing the population. But the MA population has remained essentially unchanged for 20 years, because it’s saturated. MA is the third most densely populated state in the U.S. Therefore, Perry is attacking Romney for not meeting a useless quota. Quotas are a misleading liberal tactic. Perry is dishonestly using the MA job growth rate to claim Romney is bad on jobs.

    Perry compares Romney with Dukakis, who was governor during the booming Reagan 80s and a period where women entered the workforce in droves. MA also had a “minicomputer” tech bubble. Meanwhile, Romney inherited a massive budget crisis (which he solved), that hurt job growth. Yet some Perry supporters are now saying Romney’s response was unfair because he compared Perry with Bush and Richards. Apparently, consistency is not their strong point.

  510. Ryan Larsen says:

    Part III (the long explanation):

    Quotas are not conservative. They are an inept or intellectually lazy means of assessment. If people are not committing crimes, we shouldn’t arrest folks just to meet a quota. And when everyone has a job, we don’t need to prioritize job creation or criticize the leader for “failing to create jobs.”

    At the end of Mitt Romney’s term as Governor, MA had a healthy unemployment rate of 4.7 (below 4 becomes unhealthy). There was no job problem, and no need for an artificial “fix.” When Romney took office, the state faced a massive budget problem, which Romney successfully solved.

    So why does Rick Perry point out that Romney didn’t create many jobs? Because many people are confused. We are now in a jobs crisis, nationally, and people are thinking in terms of the need to create jobs.

    The only way MA could have created more jobs under Romney is if the population in MA had increased. But MA is the third most densely populated state, right behind RI and NJ. Texas has 26 times the area of MA. That means, unlike MA, Texas has room for sprawl (which it has seen in excess) – meaning cheap land for people as well as businesses building stores and factories, equaling jobs.

    Logistically, TX is a frontier. And because of its central placement, temperate climate and sophisticated urban variety, it is a hub. Combine this with its conservative laws (pre-dating Rick Perry) and built-in natural resources, and Texas is an obvious place for people to move.

    Still, as Mitt Romney pointed out, a much higher percentage of jobs were created in TX under both Richards and Bush than under Perry. This may indicate that suburban TX is finally beginning to see some saturation after the massive population increase of the last 20 years.

    The bottom line is that Texas has had room for bringing in new people. MA population has seen little change in 20 years, while TX has had a 40% increase in population over that same period. While Perry would like to take credit for job growth, especially since the recession, recent growth has been demonstrably chaotic rather than ordered. Just as Babe Ruth hit more home runs than anyone else but also struck out more than anyone else, when people have taken their savings and moved to Texas in the last 3 years, they have naturally generated some jobs but also been left with a lot of unemployment.

    To illustrate the chaos which Perry takes credit for, consider that a year ago MA and TX had the same unemployment rate, 8.2% (Sept. ’10). Now, MA is down to 7.6 and TX is up to 8.4. Is this the result of Perry’s careful planning and micromanagement? If so, he has failed. If not, he should stop pretending to assume credit for the jobs situation in Texas.

  511. AvaGreen says:

    @RyanLarsen, glad that you agree that jobs have grown in Texas; however, saying that Perry has had little to do with that fact is a bit of stretch as he’s been in office now for 10 years. Look how quickly Obama has put us into debt, lowered our credit rating, and more or less ruined our economy by increasing anti-business regs and laws………..in just under 3 years. Yes, Perry has had something to do with our continued prosperity.
    One example: Perry has managed to keep taxes low during his 10-year tenure as governor. Countless opportunities to raise taxes presented themselves during Perry’s ten years as governor, yet he resisted the temptation. Texas was ranked 49th among the states in per-capita taxes, at $1,434 a year in 2005, according to a 2009 Census Bureau report and a Texas Public Policy Foundation analysis (Feb., 2011) shows Texas with a 7.9% combined state/local tax burden, ranking it 45th among the states – for comparison, New York’s burden is 12.1%.

    After 10 years in office, with ample opportunities to raise taxes, Perry has maintained an enviable record as a low-tax governor.
    In his first veto of the year, governor Perry vetoed the Internet sales tax bill (HB 2403). That’s just one more reason for Texas’ low cost of living. At least for now, Texans can continue to buy goods over the Internet without paying sales tax on all purchases.

    Texas is ranked third among “Best States to make a living.” The ranking is based on an Adjusted Average Income value which considers taxes, housing, and cost of living. Texas’ average is $41,427. Compared to Massachusetts: $38,665, Minnesota: $37,721, and California: $29,772 just to compare a few. This from CBS MoneyWatch, April, 2011.

    *****Now, MA is down to 7.6 and TX is up to 8.4. Is this the result of Perry’s careful planning and micromanagement? If so, he has failed. If not, he should stop pretending to assume credit for the jobs situation in Texas.*****
    Perhaps the high unemployment has to do with the 1.6 million illegals in Texas, here because of the good job capabilities. I’ve asked this before and will repeat: “What would your state (or any state) do with the same 1.6 million illegals to use your healthcare system, schools, legal resources (police and courts)?

  512. […] been meaning for a while to post this with some commentary, but I haven’t been able to get around writing the commentary, so […]

  513. david says:

    You cherry picked the states for your charts. Texas is doing OK, but so are a bunch of other petro-states. A miracle? I don’t think so.

  514. AvaGreen says:

    @David, from the 3rd article above about Texas being an energy state:
    “In identifying “energy jobs” I cast as wide a net as possible. If you want to replicate my findings, go to this link: http://www.bls.gov/sae/data.htm, click on “One-Screen Data Search”, then select “Texas”, then select “Statewide”, then in Supersectors select “Mining and Logging”, “Non-Durable Goods” and “Transportation and Utilities” and then in Industries select “Mining and Logging”, “Natural Gas Distribution”, “Electric Power Generation” and “Petroleum and Coal Products Manufacturing”……When we finally get the data, we discover that energy isn’t really the biggest part of the Texas economy. Increases in jobs in the energy sector (or closely related to it) account for about 25% of the job increases in the last year. Since the energy sector only makes up 3% of all employment……However, take the energy sector completely out of the equation and Texas is still growing faster than any other state. This indicates to us that the energy sector is not a single sector saving Texas from the same economic fate as the rest of the states. It’s not hurting, but Texas would still be growing like a weed without it.”

  515. Nancy Oliver says:

    Love the DAMN WELL RESEARCHED ARTICLE! I have one thing to add, that I being a Texan can find easily…just go asks California is Gov. Perry has a big hand in creating the business friendly atmosphere. I will provide an honestly accurate vid…but I also want to add that there are many state congressional addresses that are also on youtube. Gov. Perry has pushed strong to get the legislature to pass his simple four part plan…Cut regulations, give business a given long term climate, keep taxes low, and end frivolous lawsuits. To add is also a strong economy and to gain that…don’t spend all the money and leave the worker with as much of their income as one can. You might also look at three counties who opted for a better retirement than SS…true, Gov. Perry did not create the program but he did expand on it. Also, besides insisting Texas will NOT raise taxes…Gov. Perry also refuses to let Congress take from our billions rainy day fund. WE balanced the budget this year with stimulus yes…but Gov. Perry RELUCTANTLY DID SO AND WROTE A LETTER TO OBAMA TELLING HIM WHY WE CHOSE TO TAKE ONLY THAT WHICH STRINGS WERE NOT ATTACHED KEEPING TEXAS TIED UP IN THE DC MUCK AND MIRE. The reason we did so was because DC has not paid their bills to Texas since oby took office when it comes to the reimbursment of doing DC’s job with the illegal deportation and incarceration. Here is one vid. The rest are easy to find…with your nose for finding credible stuff…sure ya can handle the rest. (BTW…in this vid…I think Governor was worried he was going to get hammered for so many trips he made knocking on doors) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aot5si1w-bI .

  516. Ashley says:

    Thank you for putting this data together!!! Very interesting read. I do have some questions though and they aren’t based on statistical data, rather, on my personal experience.

    If Texas has well paying jobs (and I’m talking that pay well enough to get by…not live extravagantly), THEN WHERE ARE THEY? I was laid off from my job at the end of July. I thought I would find a job making the same (just under $35K per year) if not more within a month. What I have found is very disheartening. In my hours each day of looking for a job I have found several jobs…but they pay $10-12 per hr. That’s $5-7 per hour less than I was making, or an average of about $1000 per month LESS. Unemployment has me at about $500 short per month on the budget…so about $700 less than I was making while working. Why is it that a person with 2 undergraduate degrees and half-way done with her MBA can’t find a job in the private sector in Austin making what is really entry level pay? It’s extremely frustrating. So, now I’m wondering, would it just be better to stick with my seasonal job with the Federal Govt…based on my math it would. What most concerns me is that our public school system is in the tank, but people like can’t afford to send their child to private school to ensure they are well educated. I did okay in the public school system, but the education I received as a whole was really a joke…I was just lucky enough to have a few teachers who really gave a damn about teaching. I got to college and was rudely awakened that my 3.98 GPA didn’t make me “smart,” rather it only shows that I was rarely challenged.

    And in all the talk swirling around right now I keep asking about our Congress. Let’s say Congress stays about the same…it doesn’t matter who is elected President…they will still be bickering and arguing their points until the oxygen is removed from the room. I don’t blame Obama for our credit rating falling…I blame Congress not doing their job and doing it on time. THEY showed creditors that they are going to wait until the very last minute to get the work they have been elected to do, done. CONGRESS put us in a position of facing the entire government shutting down! NOT Obama. And I’m sorry, no matter who is President, if Congress isn’t changed and sent a message from the people stating, “Stop your childish bickering and do the Fing job you make 6 figures to do,” this country will remain stagnant.

  517. avafromtexas says:

    @Ashley, try MHMR. They hire bachelor’s level workers for case managers and such. Also, GET OUT OF THE CITY! and try the rural areas where people such as yourself are in shorter supply. Much, much better pay. That’s where I’ve worked for over 20 years and have had no problem at all finding a job.
    Also, try West Texas where the jobs are plentiful and housing is more affordable than Austin.
    Maybe you’ve just set your net too narrow.

  518. avafromtexas says:

    Also, MBA’s are in overabundance…….don’t care what the schools tell you. They are just wanting you to finish your degree in THEIR school. Same thing with lawyers. Too many for the population, but they continue to push for more applicants.
    I also have my masters degree (social work), and as I said, no problem with finding a job. They come looking for me, in fact. I get mailouts every few months.

    Truly, try the small communities. We’re just as nice as the people in Austin. :)

  519. Shirley says:

    With the Republicans establishment still in the House President Obama, or whom ever become President will continue experiencing problem with Congress
    it was that way when Nancy Pelosi become Speaker of House.
    Wall Street did a number on our Country, and when the Stock Market is vositle those they have a fit over there screaming at President Obama to do something, but today the Presidet were in Ohio so they could blame him.
    Today it was the Congress fault they were unble to pas the Relief Bill, and i guess Wall Streen didn’ like that

  520. ednasmith says:

    Whut were you trying to say?

  521. alex says:

    cool article

  522. william says:

    The writer of all that BS must be kin to Ross Perot. Looks like he borrowed Perot’s graphs. Don’t mean a thing!

  523. avafromtexas says:

    Proof? Link?
    I can say the grass in my front yard is purple……..doesn’t make it true.

  524. […] Political Math, Matthias Shapiro spent some time going over the numbers for Texas, and came up with this analysis.  It tackles several of those criticisms we find about Texas, such as the unemployment rate, the […]

  525. Moss says:

    So what about all the false jobs that were reported to TWC from schools like ATI Career Training Center? TWC refuses to release the information on how many students were put to work by these schools…. only that they “meet regulations”….. yea im sure they do cause its all fake.

  526. mamabaer says:

    waste of time. this is pure propaganda. you can flip the numbers as you like to sell your lies. reading and writing this article is a waste of time.

  527. avafromtexas says:

    Proof, mambaer?

  528. Hoochie says:

    Thanks for this. I prefer facts to blind accusations, so I will take a look at some of your sources and I will not use “jobs” as part of my anti-Perry comments. I had not used that anyway, as there is so much else available to me. Thanks again – very well organized and explained, and very interesting!

  529. onefreeman says:

    Great article! I went through nearly identical thought process, used the same data (federal government data) and came to same conclusion just didn’t publish it. Great work!
    For all the naysayers squawking about proof and playing with the numbers, be careful who you are calling a propagandist and false reporter. Take a close look at the links and you will see they are “.gov”. This means the data is collected managed and controlled by federal government bureaucracies run by Mr Obama, so it seems even he can’t argue with Texas jobs growth!!!

  530. Trey says:

    First, Texas does have a fairly *weak* Governor’s Office (http://www.unc.edu/~beyle/gubnewpwr.html)
    Nevertheless, in order for the Governor to *claim* he deserves kudos for Texas’ jobs growth, he has to show that the jobs there are growing faster than the population growth or that he’s *making* the population (that brings the jobs) immigrate to TX!?! Texas grew in the decade by a huge percentage (2012 Statistical Abstract Table 14 ‘www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2012/tables/’ -> not as much as Huntsman’s Utah, btw), more, in fact than the growth in jobs that Perry’s falsely claiming to have caused.

  531. Lizzy says:

    Well put Great. I do enjoy the way you have composed this particular situation. Thanks.

  532. XYZ says:

    In this economy a lot of states have horrific unemployment – I think my state is at 9.8, and we used to be the top state in the country. I think with the political climate in Texas, as opposed to the climate in NY or CA, they could have made Texas a jobs laboratory – now I have never been to the State, so I cannot comment how much they have contributed to its rise. The stats I do not like are it education levels and it uninsured.

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  535. Tom says:

    The Bureau of Labor Statisitcs has a great wealth of data. I am glad that someone took this data and turned it into useful information. You may agree or disagree with this data (I tend to agree with the conclusions made here). I really enjoy seeing someone taking the time to review the situation and come up with some truly independent conclusions. It is a shame that the Boston Globe, NY Times, etc.. could not be expected to do the same.

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  537. Michael Hitchcock says:

    I think you underestimate the role of energy production in the Texas miracle. Texas (unlike California, where I live) has an oil and gas severance tax of 4.6% of market value for oil and 7.5% for gas (http://www.rrc.state.tx.us/programs/og/severancetax.php). Since Texas is a big oil producer, that’s a lot of money that stays in the state instead of going wherever the oil companies want to take it. That money is then spent by the state government for wages and purchases of goods and services. I can’t calculate the multiplier effect of the expenditures, but it does give Texas an advantage over most other states.

  538. […] for a long time. Whether it’s all his doing or not, Texas’ job stats right now are even better than they look on first glance. Seems like a nice, exciting conservative. Cons: Mandated an HPV vaccine for […]

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  541. […] Perry seemed to have two clear advantages over the rest of the field: his genuinely strong jobs record in Texas, and his engaged and confrontational style, which seemed to suit the Republican mood and […]

  542. jim says:

    Would love to know the relationship between the jobs and housing in texas. TX was one of the few places in the country that did not have a speculative housing market in the first half of the 00s, and thus, I’d anticipate that the recession hangover in that industry was not as bad there as elsewhere. Add to that the rapid population growth and I would guess (only that) that the housing industry has continued to be pretty healthy there. Since there is no manufacturing left in America, housing has an outsized impact on job growth.

  543. […] Perry seemed to have two clear advantages over the rest of the field: his genuinely strong jobs record in Texas, and his engaged and confrontational style, which seemed to suit the Republican mood and […]

  544. […] and economic prosperity. Those two things go together and Rick Perry understands that. He is America’s Jobs Governor and that is beyond […]

  545. […] and economic prosperity. Those two things go together and Rick Perry understands that. He is America’s Jobs Governor and that is beyond […]

  546. […] More on the Texas job success story here. […]

  547. […] one-term governor of a medium-sized state — and his signature accomplishment in office was a strong job-creation record rather than shepherding the passage of a health care bill that is substantively similar to […]

  548. […] one-term governor of a medium-sized state — and his signature accomplishment in office was a strong job-creation record rather than shepherding the passage of a health care bill that is substantively similar to […]

  549. susan says:

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  550. […] one-term governor of a medium-sized state — and his signature accomplishment in office was a strong job-creation record rather than shepherding the passage of a health care bill that is substantively similar to […]

  551. […] one-term administrator of a medium-sized state — and his signature fulfilment in bureau was a strong job-creation record rather than shepherding a thoroughfare of a health caring check that is substantively identical to […]

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  553. Ashley says:

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  554. Shawn T says:

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  555. […] The biggest threat to Obama comes from the success Texas has enjoyed economically.  Texas’ success is a direct result of our system of government and limited intervention.  Unlike California, our economic success has been a result of that limited intervention.  A detailed analysis of our economic success in Texas is illustrated here. […]

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  559. […] 2012 Employment Statistics – Texas Workforce CommissionTexas Ahead: Tracking the Texas EconomyRick Perry And Texas Job Numbers « Political Mathstatistician jobs in Texas | careerjet.comMathematics Statistics Jobs, Employment in Texas | […]

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